Durant Headed To Nets; Irving, Jordan Will Reportedly Join Him


Mere moments after the curtain was raised on free agency Sunday evening, the Nets were already the NBA's big winners, having landed Kevin Durant and reportedly reeling in Kyrie Irving, too.

Durant announced his intentions on the Instagram account for his company-owned media network, The Boardroom, just after 6 p.m. Sunday. The New York Times reported shortly after that Irving also agreed to sign with Brooklyn. 

A post shared by The Boardroom (@theboardroom) on Jun 30, 2019 at 3:02pm PDT

Initially, it was believed that Durant and Irving would sign for the maximum the Nets could offer them -- four years, $164 million for Durant, four years, $142 million for Irving. But ESPN reported Sunday night that both superstars have agreed to sign for less than the max to allow Brooklyn to also add center DeAndre Jordan, who agreed to a four-year, $40 million deal.

The Nets also agreed to terms Sunday on a two-year, $10 million contract with shooting guard Garrett Temple, ESPN reported. 

Free agents cannot officially sign with their new teams until Saturday.

Durant, of course, won't be healthy for quite some time after undergoing surgery earlier this month on the ruptured right Achilles tendon he suffered in Game 5 of the NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors. The 30-year-old small forward is expected to miss most, if not all, of next season, but that did not scare off teams that had dreams of him leading them to glory beginning in the 2020-21 season. 

The second overall pick in the 2007 draft by the Seattle SuperSonics, Durant has averaged 27.0 points, 7.1 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game over his 12-year career. After nine years with the Sonics/Oklahoma City Thunder, he signed as a free agent with the Warriors in 2016, winning two championships and two NBA Finals MVPs in Golden State.

This past season, the 6-foot-9 Durant, a 10-time All-Star, averaged 26.0 points, 6.4 rebounds and 5.9 assists.

Reports of the mutual interest between Irving, a native of West Orange, New Jersey, and the Nets, the team he grew up cheering for, have been swirling for weeks.

Through eight NBA seasons -- six with the Cleveland Cavaliers, the last two with the Boston Celtics -- Irving has averaged 22.2 points and 5.7 assists per game. Last season, he averaged 23.8 points and a career-high 6.9 assists and 5.0 rebounds. He was the top overall pick in the 2011 draft.

The signings are a watershed moment for the Nets, a franchise that underwent a complete rebuild after the ill-advised 2013 trade with the Boston Celtics for Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry that cost it years of first-round draft picks with not much success to show for it. In February 2016, the Nets hired general manager Sean Marks, whose methodical rebuild and emphasis on a culture change started to pay dividends last season, as the Nets reached the playoffs for the first time in four years. It also clearly put Brooklyn on the map as a destination for star free agents.

The Nets' acquisitions of Durant and Irving, meanwhile, are a big blow to the Knicks, who not only have to swallow their pride after being upstaged by their crosstown rival but also traded away their star power forward, Kristaps Porzingis, in January in part to clear out salary-cap space to sign two max-level free agents this summer. According to ESPN, owner James Dolan was not prepared to make a max offer to Durant over concerns about his injury and recovery. 

The Knicks and owner Jim Dolan were not prepared to offer Kevin Durant a full max contract due to concerns over his recovery from the Achilles injury, league sources tell me and @wojespn. Knicks officials are in Los Angeles tonight, meeting with free agents such as Julius Randle.

— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) June 30, 2019

The Knicks were in Los Angeles on Sunday making their pitch to the other big free-agent prize this summer, Kawhi Leonard.

Jordan, 30, was part of that Porzingis trade with the Dallas Mavericks. In 69 games with the Mavericks and Knicks last season, the center averaged 11.0 points and 13.1 rebounds.