Brooklyn State of Mind: Durant and Irving Choose the Nets
By Nick Nagel
The Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving sweepstakes are officially over! The two will be taking their talents to Brooklyn next season and join a young, scrappy Nets squad.
After injuring his Achilles in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, it was uncertain that Kevin Durant would leave Golden State. With reports of him feeling disrespected and unloved as a Warrior, Durant was searching for the love and praise he believes he deserves. Durant plans to sign a four-year, $164 million contract with Brooklyn. Despite the expectation that KD will not play next season due to his injury, the Nets still gave him the big bucks, which is smart.
Kyrie Irving will join Durant after struggling to find his groove in Boston. Irving plans on signing a four-year deal that will be worth up to $141 million. Reports of Irving joining the Nets have been brewing for a couple months now. Kyrie will look to start fresh in Brooklyn and rebuild his reputation as one of the top players in the league. With Durant likely being out next season, Irving looks to prove that he can lead and be successful with him as a centerpiece, something he failed to do in Boston.
While making this agreement, the two decided to take less than the max (forgoing between $4 to $5 million each), in order to sign DeAndre Jordan for $10 million a year.
After dealing D’Angelo Russell to Golden State, the trio will be joining Spencer Dinwiddie, Joe Harris, Caris LeVert, Jarrett Allen, and other young pieces in Brooklyn. The Nets managed to secure the sixth seed in the eastern conference this season, getting bounced in the first round by the Philadelphia 76ers. Brooklyn’s young core showed consistency and promise throughout the season, playing well as a cohesive group. With Irving having a reputation of being hard on his young teammates, he may have to work on his patience this season. Chemistry is what carried the Nets this season and Irving will have to ditch his old habits and blend in with this crew. With expectations being even higher now, the young players will also need to take a step forward in their progression as well. Brooklyn also plans to sign thirteen-year veteran Wilson Chandler to the veteran minimum.
Across the way, the New York Knicks laid an egg. Reports show that James Dolan and the front office were hesitant on offering Durant a full max contract due to concerns with his injury. With hopes of drafting Zion Williamson and landing Durant with another star, the offseason did not go as planned for Knicks fans, but they did not go home empty handed. General manager Scott Perry managed to land Julius Randle, Taj Gibson, Elfrid Payton, Reggie Bullock, and Bobby Portis. Close enough, right? Wrong. Although, these small contracts will help New York clear space for another crack at the next big free agent period, which will most likely be the summer of 2021 when Russell Westbrook, Paul George, Giannis Antetekounmpo, and others are set to be on the market.
Brooklyn will be instant title contenders when Durant returns from his injury. Look for the Nets to be the favorites to win the east for the 2020-21 season. Next season, it will be important to make Kyrie Irving’s transition smooth and drama free. The odds of that happening are slim, but look for Brooklyn to be in the middle of the pack in the eastern conference and fight for a five-six seed.