Nets win free agency before it even starts
by Bryan Fonseca
Jul 02, 2019 | 6460 views | 0 0 comments | 567 567 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Before free agency officially began on Sunday at 6 PM, the Brooklyn Nets added Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, according to several reports, which were confirmed by both All-Stars shortly thereafter.

Durant made the announcement Sunday evening on his ‘Boardroom’ Instagram page for his ESPN + show, and Irving, who also signed with Roc Nation Sports, announced the decision on his Instagram page with a near two-minute video.

Irving, a New Jersey native, said in the fourth grade he had just finished watching the Nets - then of New Jersey - lose in the NBA Finals to the San Antonio Spurs, and knew one day he wanted to play near home.

“In my heart I knew I always wanted to play at home. Home is where my heart is and it’s always been there,” he said. “This is a dream that I want to fulfill. Home is where I want my legacy to continue, and I’m happy to be in Brooklyn.”

The Nets and Irving agreed to terms on a four-year deal worth $142 million, while Durant is scheduled to receive $164 million over four years. Both took slightly less to make room for center DeAndre Jordan to jump on board for four years and $40 million. Jordan is a known friend of Durant’s and will also have a vital role on the interior for Brooklyn.

The Nets also are expected to add veteran guard Garrett Temple for five years and $10 million to their roster as well.

Because of the moratorium, league wide deals won’t become official until July 6.

Durant, who ruptured his Achilles in June during the NBA Finals, will likely miss most if not the entire first season in Brooklyn. Dr. Martin O’Malley, the Nets team physician, has worked with Durant over the years on foot surgeries and performed his most recent procedure as well.

Does the move automatically mean Brooklyn will win a title? Not exactly.

Irving arrives with his own questions of how his situation materialized with an ultimately underwhelming Boston Celtics squad, and with Durant out for now, the Nets are near but not at title contention yet, especially if Kawhi Leonard stays in Toronto, and other teams like the Philadelphia 76ers and Milwaukee Bucks retooling to remain elevated in the standings. The Celtics also essentially swapped Irving for Kemba Walker, a New York native who has produced similarly on the floor, minus any news off of it.

But if Durant at 32 years old in 2020 could be most of what he has been post-Achilles injury, perhaps the Nets would eventually secure their first NBA title as a franchise.

But that’s far easier said than done, given that the eastern conference appears to be top heavy again. The Nets do maintain a viable supporting cast as well, led by Caris LeVert, Spencer Dinwiddie, Jarrett Allen and Joe Harris. The Irving move meant D’Angelo Russell did have to depart, though, and he signed a four-year deal worth $117 million, landing in Golden State via sign-and-trade, in exchange for Durant.
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