NBA trade rumors: Suns were close to acquiring forward other than Durant

Before the Phoenix Suns landed Kevin Durant, they were considering a three-team trade that would have returned them John Collins according to NBA rumors.

By the time the early hours of Thursday morning hit, the Phoenix Suns pulled off a blockbuster deal that places them definitively as one of the favorites to represent the Western Conference in the 2023 NBA Finals. In a shocker, they agreed to a trade with the Brooklyn Nets to add Kevin Durant to their roster.

The move materialized quickly and is a clear sign from new team owner Matt Ishbia — who just took over the team days ago — that he wants to win, and the timeline is now.

The Suns were thought to be one of the more active teams at the NBA Trade Deadline. Whispers of them potentially moving Chris Paul were on the table at one point, even, though one would assume that they’re done with major moves ahead of Thursday’s 3 p.m. ET trade deadline.

Prior to the Durant trade coming to fruition, the Suns had their eyes on another forward: John Collins of the Atlanta Hawks.

NBA trade rumors suggests Suns were in on John Collins before Kevin Durant

In his column on the massive trade, Adrian Wojnarowski reported that before the Durant deal, the Suns were engaged on a framework of a three-team deal that would have brought John Collins to Arizona.

That deal was set to go through on Sunday morning, but new team owner Ishbia had his general manager, James Jones, push some calls through to Nets GM Sean Marks in the late hours on Wednesday. Those discussions started after 11 p.m. ET on Wednesday according to Woj.

Included in the reporting was the fact that Durant’s desire to join the Suns was well-known by Phoenix, and the urgency to get a deal done was there on both sides. After Brooklyn guard Kyrie Irving requested a trade and was sent to the Dallas Mavericks earlier this week, it was only a matter of time before Durant was on his way out, too.

To get the deal done, they had to give up a significant amount. Most notably, Mikal Bridges. Bridges is averaging a career-high 17.2 points per game. For Brooklyn, they would not engage on Durant trade talks unless Bridges was involved.

Undoubtedly, Collins would have come cheaper. The Hawks’ desire to trade Collins is well-known, and he’s been rumored to be on the market year-in and year-out with little traction. A strong player, he’s not as skilled as Kevin Durant.

By pivoting from Collins to Durant, the Suns spent more, but the return is greater, too. Collins would have been a good add and a marginal piece to contribute toward title hopes, but by adding Durant, the Suns are pushing all their chips to the center.

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