The Timberwolves shook up the NBA offseason when they acquired three-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert from the Utah Jazz -- but it seems they had another superstar in their sights before completing that deal.
Minnesota brass checked in with the Nets on 12-time All-Star Kevin Durant, but they ultimately demurred upon being informed what Brooklyn was seeking in return, according to a report.
The Nets wanted a boatload of draft picks in line with the four first-rounders the Wolves ultimately surrendered to Utah -- but Brooklyn was also interested in All-Stars Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic reported.
The scoop would seem to comport with separate reporting that the Nets were seeking All-Star-caliber players as well as several draft picks in exchange for the 2014 NBA MVP, who reportedly requested a trade out of Brooklyn this week following weeks of speculation about his future.
Towns, a 26-year-old center, and Edwards, a soon-to-be 21-year-old scoring guard, are considered to of the better players at their respective positions in the league.
By surrendering either or both as part of a potential Durant swap, the Wolves would be all but gutting the heart of their team to land the surefire future Hall of Famer.
Instead, the Wolves sent three veteran role players in Patrick Beverley, Malik Beasley and Jarred Vanderbilt, and two second-year players in Leandro Bolmaro and Walker Kessler to Utah, along with the bevy of picks.
The failed talks underscore the potential difficult the Nets could encounter in trying to recoup comparable value for Durant, who is still one of the best players in the league, despite his advancing age (34 in September) and recent injury history.
While Gobert is no one's idea of a scrub, his old-school skill set as a fierce rim protector and rebounder was unlikely to command the kind of return that a scorer of Durant's caliber could.