Kevin Durant became a home run for the Brooklyn Nets before the team even made its pitch.
The NBA superstar committed to joining the Nets prior to meeting with team officials in free agency, Brooklyn General manager Sean Marks confirmed to Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix. Durant announced June 30 on Instagram he’d take his talents to Brooklyn, where he’d join fellow free-agent acquisition and close friend Kyrie Irving.
“That sent a shock wave through everyone,” Marks said.
Durant opted out of his contract with the Golden State Warriors last month and entered free agency on June 30. Once he decided to join Brooklyn, the Nets traded D’Angelo Russell, Shabazz Napier and Treveon Graham to the Warriors in exchange for a protected first-round pick in the 2020 NBA Draft and Durant, who promptly signed a four-year $164 million contract with the team. Napier and Graham were then sent to the Minnesota Timberwolves as part of the sign-and-trade.
Those wondering how Durant would commit to Brooklyn without meeting with the team must remember he and Irving reportedly decided to team up before the start of the 2018-19 NBA season. The only question was where the superstars would play.
Irving’s intention to sign with Brooklyn became an open secret in June, and Durant reportedly concluded in June the Nets “checked all the boxes” he wanted in a potential free-agency destination.
The Nets now will wait for the two-time Finals MVP to recover the from the ruptured Achilles he suffered in Game 5 of the NBA Finals. Most assumed Durant would miss the entire 2019-20 season, but the team declined Tuesday to indicate how long that recovery would take, lest they not spoil Durant’s next surprise.
Thumbnail photo via Wendell Cruz/USA TODAY Sports Images