By BRIAN MAHONEY
AP Basketball Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — Kevin Durant’s time in Brooklyn ended early Thursday when the Nets agreed to trade him to the Phoenix Suns, a person with knowledge of the details said.
The Suns will send Cam Johnson, Mikal Bridges, Jae Crowder, four first-round picks and additional draft compensation to the Nets for the 13-time All-Star.
The Suns also receive forward T.J. Warren in the deal, the person told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the trade is not yet official.
It was first reported by ESPN.
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. EST trade deadline.
He 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.
Durant was moved just days after the Nets traded Kyrie Irving from 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 comes 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 an NBA championship. The Suns made the NBA Finals two seasons ago, but lost to the Milwaukee Bucks in six games. They also played in the finals in 1976 and 1993.
The Suns have had several injuries this season, but played better in recent weeks and look like contenders again. They jumped to fifth in the Western Conference with a 30-26 record. Booker (groin) and Paul (hip) have both recently returned.
When Irving heard the news, 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, it was Irving out and Durant gone as well.
“We had a lot of conversations throughout the year of what our futures were going to look like,” Irving said. “There was still a level of uncertainty but we just cared about seeing each other be places that we can thrive. Whether that be together or whether that be apart, there has never been one moment where I’ve felt like he’s been angry at me for the decisions I’ve made or I’ve been angry at him.
“I just love the competition now that we can be in the same conference.”
Bridges was the runner-up to Boston’s Marcus Smart 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.
AP Sports Writers David Brandt in Phoenix and Beth Harris in Los Angeles contributed to this report.
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