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Kevin Durant’s options shrink with DeAndre Ayton deal but other rumors persist

Phoenix Suns v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

Wheels within wheels. That’s one way of describing what’s going on in Nets world. The Pacers decision to tender a big offer sheet to DeAndre Ayton Thursday afternoon, which Phoenix quickly matched, would seem to eliminate them from the Kevin Durant sweepstakes. It’s been widely reported that Phoenix is Durant’s preferred destination.

By tendering a four-year, $133 million offer sheet to Ayton, Indiana effectively put the Suns out of the mix.

“Once he signs this offer sheet, it takes him out of the conversation to be part of a bigger trade either with Phoenix if they were still trying to do a multi-team for a Kevin Durant,” said Woj on ESPN’s NBA Today.

“But the sign-and-trade right now, if they were to do one, before he signs the deal — and there’s no indication that’s going to happen, he’s planning to sign this offer sheet — then he’s either going to be in Indiana when they don’t match it or if its matched, he goes to Phoenix, then neither team can trade him. Certainly once he signs the offer sheet, he can’t be traded again until January 15 to any other place.”

Shortly after 8:00 p.m. Woj reported that Ayton had indeed signed the tender off, starting the clock on Phoenix’s match timeline. Not long afterwards, Shams Charania reported that the Suns had matched, as expected.

Prior to that news breaking, Bobby Marks stated, “[The Suns] are not eliminated but it certainly does complicate a lot of things here with Durant.” He noted that he never believed that Ayton would wind up in Brooklyn because it would hard-cap the Nets and without Ayton in the Suns mix, Phoenix “would have to gut their roster” to get to the $36 million needed to match KD’s salary.

Friday morning, Brian Windhorst on Hoop Collective said the Suns interest in Durant only went so far, that the Nets trade demands have stagnated the market.

“I think they have, and by the way they’re not alone… How do I want to put this? I think the position they’re taking is that they’ve made their offer for Kevin Durant. And their offer is their offer. And it’s not an offer that the Nets are interested in,” Windhorst said. “I’m not even sure the Suns can put together an offer that the Nets would be interested in by themselves. I think this is where the other teams are as well.”

Indeed, on ESPN’s Get Up, Windhorst said there was “nothing” new on the Durant front.

However, on Thursday night, Windhorst told Dan Patrick that the Warriors have had “internal” discussions about Durant, keeping open that possibility. Windhorst pointedly did not say if the Warriors Joe Lacob and Bob Myers would do anything beyond that...

“There’s legitimate sources in the league telling me that it’s a discussion,” Windhorst said (around the four-minute mark). “First off, the Warriors always believe in open throttle. The Warriors have shown they don’t care what they spend. ... This has been a discussion inside the Warriors organization. [Steph] Curry’s been asked about it, and Curry gave a nonanswer. But he didn’t shut it down. He didn’t say ‘hell no.’”

Curry has, however, said that he is happy with what the Warriors currently have on their roster.

Is there any indication, as Summer League winds down and GMs head home ... or to vacation, that something could happen now? It seems less and less likely, as Nick Friedell said on NBA Today.

“In talking not only to Nets personnel but also people across the league in Vegas, nobody thinks this KD thing is going to happen anytime soon,” said the network’s Brooklyn beat writer before offering this caveat. “If I’ve learned anything being around this Nets team, it’s that things can happen in an instance with them. But everybody involved seems to think that this thing is going to going to stretch out a long ways, potentially into the season.”

Does that mean the “run it back” scenario gets more likely? We’ll just have to wait and maybe for a long time.

As for Kyrie Irving, Alex Schiffer seconded Brian Lewis’s story that Irving wants back in Brooklyn.

I don’t think Irving ever wanted to leave Brooklyn. He’s from New Jersey and grew up a Nets fan when the team was on the other side of the Hudson River. He has his family there. It was only when the organization started playing hardball with him that he decided to look elsewhere. As the market for him has become solely the Lakers, maybe he’s started to realize the grass isn’t always greener across the country.

Frank Isola suggested that the market for Irving might not be limited to the Lakers...