Bradley’s Buzz: It needs to happen - Durant to Atlanta!

Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young (11) and Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant exchange words during the second half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Dec. 10, 2021, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Credit: AP

Combined ShapeCaption
Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young (11) and Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant exchange words during the second half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Dec. 10, 2021, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Credit: AP

Not to say we’re prescient, but Monday’s newsletter included a poll that asked: Should the Hawks pursue Kevin Durant? Lo and behold, KD has expressed his desire to be traded – having worked 106 games, counting playoffs, for the Brooklyn Nets.

Durant, who once signed with a team that had gone 73-9, has identified Phoenix (64-18) and Miami (53-29) as destinations of choice. (Not a fan of underdogs, this KD.) The local NBA franchise, coming off a 43-39 regular season, isn’t considered a probable landing area, but who the heck knows?

I’ve mentioned this annual plunge into free agency is my favorite part of the NBA calendar, playoffs included. I repeat this for emphasis.

The Nets – who are awaiting, perhaps even eagerly, Ben Simmons’ Brooklyn debut – cannot be thrilled Durant wants out, especially since Kyrie Irving announced he wants to stay and collect his $37 million. They’re under no obligation to send him to a place of his choosing. They’ve got a team to rebuild. The Hawks could help.

We keep hearing they want to trade John Collins. That’s where any dialogue with the Nets would begin. It might move to include Clint Capela. Durant is due to make $42.9 million next season, so the Hawks would need to shed salary. Collins and Capela together will make – looky here! – $42M next season.

This would leave the Hawks in need of starters at the Nos. 4 and 5 position. Durant, duh, would be one. Onyeka Okongwu could be the other. But if you have Durant and Trae Young and Dejounte Murray, do you need a fifth starter?

The Hawks traded three Round 1 picks – plus Danilo Gallinari, who’s about to be waived – to San Antonio for Murray. Those might have come in handy in a KD package, but there are always workarounds. I’m not saying Durant-to-Atlanta will happen. I am saying there’s a non-zero chance it could. If it does, we’ll rename the place Duranta.

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About the ever-changing world of college sports

USC and UCLA are headed to the Big Ten, which will now number 16 members, but never mind. This is terrible for the Pac-12, which will shrink to 10 and lose the L.A. market to a conference headquartered in nearby Illinois. It’s also jarring for the ACC, of which Georgia Tech is a member.

The Big Ten, ACC and Pac-12 had formed something called the Alliance, which loosely meant “everybody who’s not in or headed to the SEC.” This didn’t preclude the B1G from poaching from the Pac-12. With Texas and Oklahoma bound for you-know-where, there will be two monster leagues composed of 32 schools … and then, running a distant third, the ACC.

The ACC includes Notre Dame in every sport except football. It really needs Notre Dame to drop the “except football” part. Trouble is, the Irish have their own TV contract.

There are now two super-conferences. The ACC isn’t one of them. Still ahead of the Big 12, though.

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A bit more about Freddie Freeman

Casey Close of Excel Sports Management has accused the dastardly Braves – who had the gall NOT to re-sign Freddie Freeman – of “fostering a narrative about the negotiations which, stated plainly, is false.” Close insists he informed Freeman of every offer made by the Braves. Freeman describes his relationship with Excel as “fluid.”

Buster Olney of ESPN reported in March that four sources claimed Close gave the Braves an hour to accept one of two proposals. Close insists he “never issued an ultimatum to the Braves or put a deadline on the negotiations.”

The thought occurs: If Freeman had been fully briefed, why was he “blindsided” – his word – when the Braves traded for Matt Olson?

From Close: “Excel is evaluating all legal options to address the reckless publication of inaccurate information.”

From the Braves: no comment.

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About Ian Anderson

He’s tied for the big-league lead in walks. His ERA in June was 6.91. Among pitchers who’ve worked 70 innings, his ERA is fifth-worst. Over his past four starts, he has, in16-2/3 innings, generated 34 baserunners, 22 on hits. He yielded seven runs in the second inning in Philadelphia on Thursday.

The slugging percentage against his fastball last season was .349. This year it’s .481. Whoa, Nellie.