The Brooklyn Nets knew when they signed two-time NBA Finals Most Valuable Player, Kevin Durant to a four-year $164 million contract in the summer of 2019, that they were sacrificing a year of having him play for the franchise. After suffering a calf strain in Game 5 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Houston Rockets, Durant returned prematurely for the Warriors in the 2019 NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors. In Game 5 Durant tore his Achilles which forced him to miss 18 months of action.
Despite knowing the long-term recovery time of Durant’s injury, the Nets still signed the 11-time All-Star to a max contract. At the end of the day, the NBA is a business first and Durant has a big business decision relating to his relationship with the Nets, looming at the end of next season.
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Nets Stars Could Headline ‘Best Ever’ Free Agency Class
According to a recent report by Alex Kennedy of Basketball News Durant along with his All-Star teammates James Harden, and Kyrie Irving could headline the upcoming, star-studded 2022 NBA free agency class.
According to Kennedy’s report Durant, Irving, and Harden, along with All-Stars, Bradley Beal, Russell Westbrook, and John Wall all could choose to enter free agency next season. However, the report also says that because they have player options it is likely that they opt-in and ditch free agency. On the other hand, Most Valuable Player finalist Stephen Curry, along with Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, Zach Lavine, Julius Randle, and Chris Paul are all set to be unrestricted free agents in 2022.
“If all of the stars hit the market, it’ll probably be the best free-agent class ever,” one anonymous NBA agent told BasketballNews.com. “If that happens, the balance of power would likely shift immensely once again,” Kennedy writes.
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Kevin Durant More Focused on Development Than Titles
With the collection of talent that the Nets have with Irving, Durant, and Harden, the prospect of the trio splitting up is not likely. Unlikely but not impossible, when you look at the collection of talent KD left in Golden State to come to Brooklyn. Even if the Nets were to win a championship it is not a guarantee that would keep the ‘big 3’ together in Brooklyn, at least not Durant who told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols earlier this season that championships are not what motivates him anymore.
“I wasn’t expecting to be a happy human being from a title. I was just expecting like, you know, the ending of a movie — once you worked so hard and everybody tells you like, ‘Yo, this is what you need to be working for, is this gold ball and these rings.’ And I’m just like, ‘All right, cool, let me lock in on that.’ And I locked in on wanting to achieve that, but I also realized it’s a lot of stuff that factors in it that’s out of my control,” Durant said to Nichols per NBC Sports.
“And once I won a championship, I realized that, like, my view on this game is really about development. Like, how good can I be? It’s not about, you know, let’s go get this championship. I appreciate that stuff and I want to win to experience that stuff, but it’s not the end-all, be-all of why I play the game.”
Kevin Durant Is a Fan of the Bulls
One team Durant has had his eyes on is the Chicago Bulls who many believe were the winners of this year’s trade deadline with the addition of All-Star big man Nikola Vucevic. KD has sung the Bulls praises on several occasions this year.
“I feel like they’re going to figure it out even more going into next season,” Durant said earlier this season via NBC Sports. “But they have a lot of talent, a lot of different guys that can do a variety of things. But Zach and Vucevic and Coby (White) I feel like are the key pieces to this team — and Patrick Williams.”
Buckle up Nets fans, 2022 could be a wild ride.