The Nets’ 2020-21 campaign was cut short late last month when the Milwaukee Bucks used a Game 7 win in their second-round playoff series to derail the title favorites. For Brooklyn star Kevin Durant, that prompted an early jump on his offseason.
The 11-time All-Star wasted no time. After quickly committing to play for Team USA in the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Durant went a step further, assuming the role of recruiter as he worked to help assemble this year’s Team USA team.
As it turns out, Durant might also be doing some recruiting for his Nets squad.
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Durant and Kevin Love Will Soon Be Roommates
Ahead of the Olympics, Team USA’s 12-man roster will train in Las Vegas from July 6 to 19 and play exhibition games at Michelob Ultra Arena, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. And while the team meshes in Vegas, Durant will have a new roommate.
According to NBA reporter Erik Slater, Durant and Cleveland Cavaliers star Kevin Love will be rooming together during their time in Nevada. Slater cited a source, who he said also added that the Nets are at the top of Love’s list in the event he is bought out.
As if the Nets didn’t have enough starpower.
Love, a five-time All-Star, would join a group in Brooklyn that includes a handful of other perennial All-Stars in Durant, Kyrie Irving, James Harden and Blake Griffin.
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Cavs Reporter Thinks Love Could Be on His Way out of Cleveland
Jason Lloyd, who covers the Cavs for The Athletic, headlined a story he wrote in late April with: “It might be time for the Cavs, Kevin Love to part ways.”
Lloyd detailed Love’s tenuous relationship with the Cavs in his story, and then got to spelling out where he thinks all of this is headed:
If this were an isolated incident, what happened Monday (when Love essentially gave up on a play during a game in April) might not have blown up like it has. It’s all of the other events preceding Monday between Love and the Cavs that have brought us here.
Ultimately, both sides might agree to a buyout. Love has about $60 million remaining on his contract over the next two years. Blake Griffin, another Jeff Schwartz client, gave back $13 million of the $75 million owed to him to get out of Detroit. If Love wants to give back $10 million or $15 million, the Cavs might accommodate him and send him on his way. They can stretch the money owed to him, and it certainly wouldn’t be the first time Dan Gilbert has paid people not to work for him.
A Kyrie-Love Reunion in Brooklyn?
In December 2020, Love told Forbes: “When I was 18 years old, I had written down in a notebook that I wanted to own an apartment and live in New York by the time I was 30.”
Earlier in 2020, Love saw his New York dreams come to fruition when he moved into a three-bedroom apartment in a brand-new waterfront construction in Tribeca.
Barclays Center is just a stone’s throw away.
And then there’s what joining the Nets would mean for Love as far as reuniting with Kyrie Irving, who was teammates with Love on the Cavs from 2014-17, including their 2016 run to the NBA title.
Lloyd wrote in December that “”Love and Irving were never particularly close during their time together. Most players on those Cavs teams grew tired of Irving’s stunts, such as not talking to anyone at practice.”
That analysis came on the heels of Irving’s decision early in the 2020-21 season not to talk to reporters, whom he referred to as “pawns.” (Irving eventually went back on that decision and regularly talked with the media.)
Love took objection to “pawns,” calling it a “sure sign of disrespect.”
“I understand where Kyrie is coming from in trying to better a number of people’s lives, but I’m just not a divisive person, so that’s where I stand on that,” Love said, via Spencer Davies of Basketball News. “I love Kyrie. I know he’s changed, (don’t know) what’s going on, but again I’m just not a divisive person. I believe everybody has a part to play, so long as the intent’s there and it comes from a good place.”
It’s clear Love still has a ton of respect for Irving; earlier in April, he told USA Today that a Finals between Irving’s Nets and LeBron James’ Lakers would “be one for the ages.”
The real question when it comes to a Love-to-Brooklyn scenario, of course, concerns how Love would blend with next season’s Nets. The 6-foot-8 power forward is no longer the yearly All-Star he was in his prime, but like Griffin, he could be valuable in a lesser role for a contender like Brooklyn.
Love, 32, has averaged 18 points and 11 rebounds in 738 games over his NBA career, but those figures were down to 12.2 and 7.4 in 25 games this past season for Cleveland.
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