You’d be forgiven if you affectionately thought of the current NBA free agency period as “The KD Sweepstakes”. The biggest fish of the 2019/20 offseason has been completely enigmatic all season. No scenario would be truly outrageous: re-signing in Golden State, signing with the Knicks, pairing up with Kawhi Leonard on the Clippers, etc. The Nets sign both KD and Kyrie.
Well, it’s official: Kevin Durant has signed a max deal with the Brooklyn Nets. 4-years for $164 million.
Not only that: he will be joined by Kyrie Irving – who signed a 4-year, $141 million deal.
DeAndre Jordan will also be forming the nucleus of this Eastern Conference contender for the immediate future. (Terms of this deal are still unknown.)
It has to be a blow to the Golden State Warriors franchise – whose dynasty may now be effectively over. The only solace is knowing that GSW won’t have to pay over $40 million this season for a player who will likely not play 1 minute of the 19/20 NBA season. Durant will be rehabbing his devastating Achilles injury for the duration of the season – and runs the risk of not being quite the same player when he returns the following season.
For a 30-year old player, KD’s contract carries some risk – but also a very good chance at a championship if healthy. Securing Kyrie Irving in his prime – and an effective big man like Jordan – should make the Nets competitive for a long time. Brooklyn also has an enviable roster of young talent, with many emerging possible stars looking to supplement a contending team. Caris LeVert, Jarrett Allen and Spencer Dinwiddie immediately come to mind.
The biggest risks are KD’s long term health – and Kyrie Irving’s reputation as a toxic locker room presence. Still, Kyrie Irving thrived in the #2 scoring option role with Cleveland, so a healthy Kevin Durant could turn the Nets into a legitimate championship contender.
One thing is clear though: NBA free agency has started off with a bang.