Kevin Durant is a Brooklyn Net, take a moment to soak that in! I surely needed one, if you didn’t know, he’s accompanied by Kyrie Irving or Kyrie Irving is accompanied by him, seeing as it was Kyrie Irving who showed first interest in the Nets, however, you want to flip it, both of those blockbuster names are on the roster. Even though we all know Kevin Durant won’t be available until maybe late April or May if the nets make it that far, or as late as the beginning of the 2020-2021 when he does return to help the Nets to contend for a title.
How we got here
Last year’s All-Star break the two superstars were reportedly inseparable. Numerous pictures of these two acting in a manner of which brothers do, surfaced via social media, causing reporters to investigate this newly magnified bond. Also, in the time both stars were going through considerable amounts of turmoil with their respective franchises. Both having in public altercations with others in the organizations.
Earlier that year on November 13th against the Los Angeles Clippers during a Stephen Curry injury stint, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green both battled for a rebound, the problem with that is, they’re on the same team! Durant being a few inches taller than Green didn’t know he was fighting a teammate for the ball, but green was more so wrestling the ball from Durant. Green ultimately won the rebound battle and dribbled up the court leaving Durant yelling for the ball with clock running down and the game on the line Green totally ignored Durant and proceeded to try and dribble through two defenders but lost the ball sending the game to overtime. Durant confronted green in the huddle about needing the ball in game on the line situations and Green blew up calling Durant a series of profanities including the b-word multiple times, but what resonated through the sports world was the statement “Go on leave, you not really with us anyway, we won without you” those words prompted Klay Thompson who’s not usually involved in teammate conflicts to separate the altercation. They went on to lose that game. The Warriors suspended Green one game for behavior detrimental to the team. Espn analyst concurred through lip reader that Durant, after everything seemed to be settling before the start of overtime said, “That’s why I’m out”.
Before the start of last season, Kyrie announced amid an event for the Boston Celtic season ticket holders that he planned on resigning with the Celtics in the coming offseason if they’d have him back. As the season went on The Celtics began playing poorly, A team that previously made it to the eastern conference finals, where they lost to a LeBron James led Cleveland Cavalier team in 7 games without stars like Kyrie Irving or Gordon Hayward, with both stars healthy a team that had championship expectations was trending south. Kyrie started being very critical of the young players on the team commenting to reporters they didn’t have what it takes to take it to a championship level. Multiple reports showed that this caused the team to be critical of the 6-time all-star in regards to having more success when their young players were integrated into the offense and not so reliant on ball dominated play. They felt he should delegate more of the offense to the same younger players he spoke down on but kyrie being an NBA champion and a proven champion at that, felt he knew what was best!
On January 12th during a game against the Orlando Magic, Kyrie had a clear disagreement with coach Brad Stevens during a timeout huddle on a last attempt play to win the game. The Celtics ended up losing that game by 2 points, though they had the final possession. Kyrie evidently furious ripped his teammates and coaches in the post-game interview though he wouldn’t comment on the contents of the final timeout, he did speak on the team’s lack of experience. Two nights later in Brooklyn, The Celtics were showered with “kyries leaving” chants from Nets fan. Even though the Celts won that game I think the whole NBA was starting to accept those Nets chants. By mid-season kyrie was answering free agency questions by responding “ask me July 1st”.
By the NBA trade deadline, rumors were flying, The New York Knicks traded their young talent all-star Kristaps Porzingis who was the first Knick all-star since Carmelo Anthony to the Dallas Maverick along with Tim Hardaway Jr, Courtney Lee, and Trey Burke some heavy contracts in exchange for Dennis Smith Jr, two future first-round draft picks, the expiring contract of Wesley Mathews and Deandre Jordan in what appeared to be a salary dump freeing up 2 max salary slots for a free agency. They were heavily linked to Durant almost to the point some veteran analyst was calling it a “done deal”. The Los Angeles Clippers traded away their expensive contracts such as Tobias Harris and Wilson Chandler in lure of big name free agent forwards, they were already loaded with guards. Many implied that The Boston Celtics should deal Kyrie knowing the odds of resigning him were slim but Celtics General Manager Danny Ainge kept Irving the remainder of the season anticipating a deep playoff run. Also, in the midst of this 6-time all-star Anthony Davis had demanded a trade.
The Celts couldn’t make a deal for him because Kyrie Irving was on a rookie extension an under the Collective Bargaining Agreement teams aren’t allowed to have 2 Rookie extended contracts on the roster. The Los Angeles Lakers aggressively pursued Davis in trade but they failed by league deadline. Once learning this The Celtics formulated a plan to use the Celt’s wealth of young players and assets to acquire Davis in the offseason, and hopefully, a deep playoff run the to persuade Irving to resign. As for Durant the warriors prepared for what seemed like his inevitable departure by preparing for a title run completing a 3peat in the 3 years he was there but then something strange happened.
The Celtics got into the playoffs as the 4th seed with 49 wins and won 5 straight games, sweeping The Pacers in round one, an opening-round 2, by beating the NBA seasons best record holders Milwaukee Bucks but above all looking like the team Irving was hoping for all season. It all proved to be just smoke as the Celtics winners of their last 5 games lost the next 5 losing to the Bucks in the second round with one lonely opening night win. The warriors, on the other hand, were rolling as expected but ran into trouble when Durant strained his right calf May 5th, game 5 of The Western Conference Semifinals Vs The Houston rockets. The Warriors went on to win the next game and closed out the Rockets to advance to the Western Conference Finals where they would sweep; 4 games to none, The Portland Trailblazers to move on to their 5th straight NBA finals appearance.
There they would face the Toronto Raptors in their first-ever NBA finals berth. The Raptors would go up 3 games to 1 during the series in Durant’s absence. 35 nights later on June 10th, Durant returned to game 5 of the NBA Finals in Toronto. He took the floor at the Scotia Bank Arena and while some questioned if he’d be rusty, he put those questions to bed by scoring 11 points in 12 minutes going 3 for 3 from the behind the arch. On a play where he faked a shot attempt then drove past forward Serge Ibaka he went down clutching the back of his right leg. He called directly to the training staff as if he already knew his fate. He was helped off the floor by teammates then later left the arena in a walking boot.
The Warriors through heavy emotion pulled out the win to stay alive hoping their leading scorer would be healthy an available for game 6. An MRI proved the 2-time NBA MVP had torn his Achilles tendon in his right leg. In the 3rd quarter of game 6 Klay Thompson, one half of arguably the best backcourt in NBA history went down with a torn ACL. Kahwi Leonard and the Raptors proved to be too much for the Warriors without 2 of their best 3 players and they closed out the series in 6 games defeating the 2-time defending champs. The Warriors hoped these sudden misfortunes would sort of bring ” A we all we got mood” to the team and their 2 all-stars in Thompson and Durant would both resign and rehab with the team to return for another title run.
Leading up to July 1st, the beginning of free agency, The Celtics stuck to their plan of pursing Davis through trade to persuade Kyrie to stay and resign with the team. The Lakers shot that plan down by agreeing with The Pelicans on a deal that would send Davis to The Lakers, another team reported pursuing Irving in A free agency because of his close ties to LeBron James in whom he won a championship in 2016 with. Another rumor which was gaining heavy traction was that Irving and the Nets shared a substantial mutual interest. Amid rumors, The Nets traded forward Allen Crabbe and Draft picks to The Atlanta Hawks in what appeared to be a salary dump to open 2 max slots to sign Free Agents. The Warriors were planning a pitch to Durant on a 5 year 221 million Supermax Deal. They wanted him to rehab with their doctors for the likely year he’d be sidelined then if he still wanted out the Warriors would work out a trade with a team of his liking. The deal would help the Warriors sign free agents with the way the NBA is set up. Durant set up meetings with only 4 teams The Clippers, Warriors, Nets, and Knicks, Irving only with the Nets. Also, a free agent The Toronto Raptors, MVP Kahwi Leonard reportedly stated that Durant and he were planning to play together with Kyrie. Almost set to sign with The Nets, Davis with James on The Lakers, The Clippers or The Knicks seemed like the best fit for that accommodation.
On July 1st at about 4 pm Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported Kevin Durant was planning to sign with the Brooklyn Nets not shortly after and not much to the same surprise that Kyrie Irving would also be signing with the Brooklyn Nets. The sports world was shocked, though we knew a likely New York destination was in the cards for the 2 time finals MVP, if a Warrior’s departure were to happen being that his agent Rich Kleiman is based in New York, Dr. Martin O’Malley who performed the surgery to repair Durant’s Achilles is in New York, whose actually the Nets team doctor, in fact as soon as the MRI revealed the Achilles tendon was torn the 10 time all-star was on a plane to New York to conduct further evaluation with Dr.O’Mally, he also purchased a New York home back in may and sold his bay area pad. That may have been the last hint seeing as players spend their summers in all types of places and with the team relocating to San Francisco a lot of the players have sold their homes in the recent months.
Durant left the Warriors a gift by agreeing to a sign an trade, bringing guard DeAngelo Russell to the Warriors. That piece is believed to help them bring in future talent because with the NBA the team would never be able to pay 3 max salary players and have the cap room to add integral pieces around those players for a title run. Kyrie was linked to the Nets for a while, and he’s a New Jersey native from right over the Hudson, so it seemed like a right fit for him. The Nets are a young scrappy team coming off a playoff berth that has an excellent coach in Kenny Atkinson just in need of star power. They have an owner in Joe Tsai who’s a mega-billionaire and presents the opportunity to help stars sell sneakers in Asia, a major market for American sports apparel.
Despite his plights with the Celtics, Irving also agreed to a 3 team sign an trade that would bring guard Kemba Walker to the Celtics and send guard Terry Rozier to the Charlotte Hornets. Some would speculate that the Warrior fans and their undying love for Stephen Curry an unwillingness to accept the team as anyone else’s other than curry’s drove Durant away, regardless of him leading the team to 2 NBA titles after they came off a 73-9 season, where they blew a 3-1 lead to the Cavaliers in the finals, clearly showing Curry needed another star that’s able to create his own shot in clutch moments. Though many may speculate that Durant was, in fact, Ny Knick bound but with not being available to start next season gave Irving the leverage in the agreement on where they would play in the Big Apple. Many have speculated that the pairing won’t work and that Irving’s style of play would resemble a Russell Westbrook, Durant escaped thee pairing years ago by leaving the Oklahoma City Thunder for the Warriors. Many will speculate a lot, but the fact is Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are Brooklyn Nets.