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Shortly 1 a.m. ET on Thursday morning, Kevin Durant was traded to the Phoenix Suns, who sent a massive package back to Brooklyn that includes Mikal Bridges, Cameron Johnson, Jae Crowder, four future first-round picks and a pick swap in 2028. Phoenix also lands T.J. Warren in the deal. 

All elements of this trade have been confirmed by CBS Sports NBA Insider Bill Reiter. 

This one caught everyone by surprise, and now that it's happened, there's really only one thing to say: The Phoenix Suns are the team to beat. That doesn't mean the team to beat in a crowded Western Conference. That means the team to beat for the whole thing. 

The odds say the Celtics are still the title favorite at +360. The Suns are now second at +500. I don't care about those odds. Everyone is looking up at the Suns, so to speak. The Celtics. The Bucks. The Nuggets. The 76ers. The Grizzlies. The Mavericks. The Los Angeles Clippers. The Warriors. All of them. 

Yes, Boston made life incredibly rough on Durant in last year's playoffs. But this Phoenix team has more places to turn for offense. If it were to happen (both teams will face a gauntlet through their conferences), we would be getting one whale of an NBA Finals. I would give the edge to Phoenix. 

Apologies to Kawhi and PG-13, the Jays, LeBron and AD, Giannis and his top second, Luka and Kyrie, but Devin Booker and Durant immediately become the deadliest duo in the league. Chris Paul, if you haven't noticed, is still pretty damn good. Phoenix retains Deandre Ayton. Those four plus Warren is an absolutely nasty starting five. 

Phoenix lacks depth, even more so now, but Durant fits perfectly with a methodical team that defaults to half-court basketball. That could've been a problem in the playoffs with the difficulty Phoenix has scoring paint points, but with three of the deadliest midrange shooters in the game that now becomes less of an issue. 

Good luck doubling Durant or Booker. Ayton better start rolling hard with the space in which he's going to be working. Bridges is a major loss. For my money he's the best perimeter defender in the league, and he has become a very good offensive player. But this is Kevin Durant. He ain't cheap. 

Even without Durant, Phoenix has won nine of its last eleven to quietly rise to the fifth spot in the West, tied in the loss column with the fourth-place Clippers, who on Wednesday night fell to the Mavs, which just acquired Kyrie Irving on Sunday.

Indeed, the West just got real wild. It's still open. I wouldn't say the Suns are a runaway favorite. But they are at the top of the list. Don't be surprised to see some more aggressive moves on Thursday as teams in position to contend now know they have to up their game. Man, what a second half of the season and postseason this is going to be.