The Brooklyn Nets are finally finding their footing after a slow start to the season, and with Ben Simmons showing flashes of his old form and Kyrie Irving’s return, they might go on a run soon.

While the season feels like it has only just begun, the Nets have gone through a lot already with the firing of head coach Steve Nash and Irving’s suspension. With Jacque Vaughn now running the show, the Nets have shown they might have what it takes to make a run to the championship.

That’s a long way away as of right now, and things can change at a moment’s notice. If the Nets find themselves slumping again, a Durant trade could be revisited, and there are many teams who would be interested in bringing on the forward. While trade talks were nearly non-existent in the summer, things could be different now.

An Eastern Conference executive told Heavy Sports’ Sean Deveney the Philadelphia 76ers will be a team to watch if the Nets start to explore trades again.


Sixers are Lurking

The Sixers are currently very banged up with James Harden and Tyrese Maxey both set to miss a lot of time, so if they can stay afloat and get healthy again, adding more pieces could be in their best interest.

Adding Durant to a core that includes Harden and Joel Embiid would definitely have the makings of a strong big three, and it’s something the executive tells Deveney the Sixers are keeping an eye on.

“(The Nets) have gotten some signs of life from (Ben) Simmons and they can still get right back into the mix in the East because a lot of those teams have been soft to start the year,” the exec said about potential Durant trades. “But the Sixers are one of the teams who would be keeping an eye on what’s going on there.”

Currently, the Nets find themselves sitting at 8-9, which is definitely a much slower start than expected, but they are also firmly in the hunt for the playoffs early on, and they are expected to right the ship and easily find themselves in contention. Because of this, they aren’t expected to explore Durant trades, but if they got off to a 3-15 start like the Pistons, perhaps this would be a different story.

The Nets were looking for a huge haul for Durant in the summer, and that’s not expected to change during the season.


They Need Maxey

If Durant is moved, the executive believes Tyrese Maxey would have to be included in the deal and there’s no way the Nets would even consider it without him.

“They would have to,” the exec said. “There is no chance the Nets would do a deal with the Sixers for Durant unless Maxey was coming back. They’re not looking to deal him, there are no real indications that they’re going to do that.”

This would certainly make a hypothetical Durant trade much more difficult, but it’s fair for the Nets to have such a high asking price for their superstar forward. What’s more likely is Durant plays out the rest of the season in a Nets jersey and a decision is made on his future in the next offseason.

Irving’s contract is up after the year, and if he joins another team, the Nets will have a lot of thinking to do.

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