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A Very Strange Thing Happened To The Brain Of Brian Windhorst This Morning. Very Strange.

A four-square of Brian Windhorst talking, with a little Windy in the middle as well
Dan McQuade/Defector via ESPN

Kevin Durant would like for the Brooklyn Nets to move him to another team. At the top of his list of preferred destinations—a list his business manager and the Nets are reportedly consulting as they work together to facilitate this trade request—is the Phoenix Suns, who have won 75 percent of their regular-season games over the last two seasons, and made the NBA Finals in 2021. The NBA’s restrictions on player movement make completing any trade featuring as handsomely compensated a player as Durant extraordinarily complicated; moving Durant to a good team already paying what it costs to contend for championships will require some serious moving and shaking, and possibly the participation of at least one other team.

ESPN’s First Take attempted Friday morning to work out how it might be possible for Durant to land with the Suns. That is, before celebrated scoopster and possible numerologist Brian Windhorst began dramatically unpacking an underreported and vast conspiracy with downright seismic implications: The Utah Jazz … dun dun DUN … may shake up their roster.

See if you can connect the many dots which Windhorst has so thrillingly exposed.

  1. Yesterday (i.e. the same day that Durant issued his trade request—coincidence??)
  2. Adrian Wojnarowski (i.e. the same reporter who broke the news of Durant’s trade request—coincidence???)
  3. Did a Tweet (i.e. the same medium which was used to break the news of Durant’s trade request—I suppose to you this is just another coincidence????)
  4. Before the Tweet announcing the trade request (i.e. do not for one second try to suggest that this too is merely a coincidence)
  5. Announcing (i.e. I am trying to construct a sentence here, please relax)
  6. A Trade (i.e. the same vehicle of player movement sought by Kevin Durant, wow)
  7. Of Royce O’Neale (i.e. a player formerly employed by the Utah Jazz—this just keeps getting weirder)
  8. To (i.e. please pause here for dramatic tension)
  9. The Brooklyn Nets (i.e. the very team—literally the same exact team—that has been asked to trade away Kevin Durant)

Do you see it? Do I have to map it out for you? The Utah Jazz, by trading away a guy who scored seven points per game last season, have left an unmistakable clue for those with their third eyes open that, ah, hmm. That a team with a new general manager and a new head coach and an unhappy vibe and a track record of playoff disappointment might be engaged in a little bit of an offseason makeover? Wow, yeah, actually I am having a hard time getting super worked-up over this, uh, revelation.

My favorite part of this segment, beyond Windhorst’s incredible mixture of Inspector Clouseau eyebrow theatrics and Papa Wu vacuity, is the obvious mounting frustration of his co-hosts. They’re intrigued, waiting with bated breath, when Windhorst cites executive-level confusion around the league about a certain “very strange trade,” which actually on its own is not strange at all. The Jazz had a chance to get back a future first-round pick in exchange for a replacement-grade role player, and accepted. But if this guy with the shifty eyes over here says executives are weirded out by it, maybe it’s weird! They can’t wait. Then, after what feels like several years of weird aborted Socratic dialogue, they’re glancing at each other in naked bemusement and pleading with Windhorst to please finally bring this all together, to say literally anything interesting about either the plans of the Utah Jazz or how this will relate somehow to the trade of Kevin Durant. Please tell us what we are supposed to do with all these dots and lines and question marks, Brian!

“I don’t know what they’re doing,” concedes Windhorst, after snatching whole minutes out of the lives of his colleagues. “But executives in the league are looking. They’re looking.” Wow! If I have this correct, the Utah Jazz made a trade with the Brooklyn Nets, and people whose job it is to know what is going on in the NBA have noted it. You do the math!

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