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Kevin Durant’s time in Brooklyn ends as the Nets trade the 13-time All-Star to the Suns

The next opportunity for Robert Williams and the Celtics to tangle with Kevin Durant (right) would be in an NBA Finals matchup with the Phoenix Suns.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

NEW YORK — Kevin Durant’s time in Brooklyn ended Thursday when the Nets traded him to the Phoenix Suns as part of a four-team deal.

The Nets acquired Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, first-round picks in 2023, 2025, 2027, and 2029, and a first-round pick swap in 2028 from the Suns, who also got T.J. Warren from the Nets. Brooklyn also acquired second-round picks in 2028 and 2029 from Milwaukee and the draft rights to Juan Pablo Vaulet from Indiana in the deal.

The 34-year-old Durant is still playing at an elite level, averaging nearly 30 points per game this season. He asked for a trade last summer and the Suns were interested, and finally got him before Thursday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline.


The Nets, meanwhile, said they felt the deal best positioned them for future success.

“We remain steadfast in our commitment to building the team Brooklyn deserves,” general manager Sean Marks said in a statement. “We are excited to welcome Mikal, Cam and their families to Brooklyn and thank Kevin for the moments and memories he delivered our fanbase.”

Durant is recovering from a sprained knee ligament, and when he returns it will be to a Phoenix lineup that suddenly could be one of the best in the Western Conference.

He was moved just days after the Nets traded Kyrie Irving to Dallas, a stunningly fast end to the superstar era in Brooklyn. James Harden was traded at last year’s deadline, leaving the Nets with little to show for the brief time they had the Big Three together.

Now it’s the Suns with a top collection of talent, with Durant joining Devin Booker, Chris Paul, and Deandre Ayton.

The trade came just hours after new Suns majority owner Mat Ishbia was introduced in Phoenix. The self-described basketball nut, who was a walk-on at Michigan State under Tom Izzo, didn’t waste any time shaking up the NBA.


Phoenix has never won a league championship. The Suns made the NBA Finals two seasons ago, but lost to the Bucks in six games. They also played in the finals in 1976 and 1993.

The Suns have had several injuries this season, but have won nine of their last 11 games and look like contenders again. They jumped to fifth in the Western Conference with a 30-26 record. Booker (groin) and Paul (hip) both recently returned.

When Irving heard the news of Durant being traded from Brooklyn, he said: “I’m just glad that he got out of there.”

Irving scored 24 points in his Mavs debut against the Clippers on Wednesday. The Nets refused to give him a contract extension last summer, about the same time Durant was telling the team he wanted to be dealt.

Eventually, Irving left and Durant followed.

Bridges was the runner-up to Marcus Smart of the Celtics last season for the Defensive Player of the Year award and his offensive game continues to grow. The swingman scored 21 points Tuesday when the Suns beat the Nets, 116-112, in Brooklyn.

His acquisition, along with Dorian Finney-Smith, who came with Spencer Dinwiddie from Dallas, should make the Nets a much stronger defensive team. But it seems impossible to replace the firepower they lost with Durant and Irving, two All-Star starters.

Brooklyn's Kyrie Irving-Kevin Durant pairing is no more.Mary Altaffer/Associated Press

Durant, a two-time NBA Finals MVP with Golden State, was playing some of the best basketball of his career this season. He was averaging 29.7 points and shooting a career-high 55.9 percent from the field when he was hurt Jan. 8 in Miami.


When the four-team deal was completed Thursday, Crowder landed in Milwaukee, the Nets acquired the second-round picks from the Bucks, and the Pacers received Jordan Nwora, George Hill, Serge Ibaka, and three second-round picks from the Bucks.