Grade the Trade: Thunder jettison Giddey, bring superstar home in bold 3-team pitch

The Oklahoma City Thunder are good enough to push their chips in and make a run at a championship by making a bold trade for a superstar former player.
Josh Giddey, Oklahoma City Thunder
Josh Giddey, Oklahoma City Thunder / Cooper Neill/GettyImages
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Laying out a Kevin Durant trade

The Phoenix Suns gave up the moon to add Kevin Durant a season-and-a-half ago, so convincing them to trade him now will not be an inexpensive undertaking.

At the same time, they are currently locked into a roster that couldn't even win a single playoff game, and Durant will be 36 years old before the start of next season. It's not the craziest thing in the world for Phoenix to consider retooling around Devin Booker and Bradley Beal and getting on a younger timeline.

Once Phoenix is willing to come to the table, the trick will be finding enough salary to match Durant's $51 million payday for next season.

The Thunder can use their cap space to help offset the costs and decrease the Suns' luxury tax burden, but they still have to make painful decisions as to what key player to move on from.

It's difficult to find a path forward in a Durant deal that doesn't involve trading Luguentz Dort.

The Thunder will also want to move on from Josh Giddey in a Kevin Durant deal, but the Suns likely aren't the right fit for the talented point forward, requiring the addition of a third team. In this scenario, that team is the Utah Jazz, who would be taking a shot on Josh Giddey's development and in return adding a first-round pick to the pile heading to Phoenix.

Here is what the deal could look like:

Durant Giddey Suns Jazz Thunder trade

The Utah Jazz make this trade to add a high-upside player in Josh Giddey who is clearly not a good fit on the Thunder but is still one of the league's best passers and has improved each season he has been in the league.

They also take on Gordon Hayward in a sign-and-trade at around the mid-level exception; the teams can structure his contract so that it's only guaranteed in the first season, securing him more money than he can expect this season anywhere else.

That allows the Jazz to move off of John Collins, a player that almost certainly doesn't factor into their long-term plans.

The Phoenix Suns, on the other hand, get back an overall trade package that doesn't match what they sent out for Kevin Durant but is still a massive collection of players and picks.

They want to take on John Collins in this scenario to both give them another offensive hub and to provide a matching salary that they can then attach their newly acquired draft picks to in pursuit of an upgrade this summer or down the line.

They also get to add a pair of proven contributors in Lu Dort and Kenrich Williams.

Dort, in particular, is an instant starter for the Suns, providing the defensive stopper they never had this season. The picks, a collection of picks from various teams, don't contain a single "premium" option but a Suns team without any first-round picks available suddenly has a lot more flexibility to shape the roster moving forward.

If Phoenix gets on board and is willing to make this trade, should the Thunder pull the trigger?