Ian Begley, SNY.tv | Twitter |
The Brooklyn Nets have two of the best players in the NBA -- a gut punch to the New York Knicks.
Kevin Durant announced on Sunday via his sports business network "The Boardroom" that he will be playing with the Nets next season.
According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, who first reported Durant's commitment, the two-time Finals MVP is expected to sign a four-year contract worth just below the max of $164 million. Durant is expected to be joined by his friend, Kyrie Irving, who reportedly will work quickly on reaching an agreement with the Nets.
Durant is expected to miss the rest of the season due to an Achilles injury but between Irving and the Nets' young core, they should have more than enough talent to compete in the Eastern Conference in his absence.
That Durant chose the Nets over the Knicks and a return to Golden State is a huge coupe for the organization.
The Nets won 20 games just three years ago and were left mostly barren after the failed Kevin Garnett/Paul Pierce trade. But if Durant returns to prior form after his rehab, Brooklyn should compete for a championship.
This is a brutal development for the Knicks, who had hoped to land Durant. Many agents and executives - and people around Durant - believed Durant would sign with the Knicks during the season.
New York dealt All-Star Kristaps Porzingis to Dallas in February in a transaction that opened up enough max space for the club to sign two max players. New York was optimistic about its chances of landing Durant prior to the injury.
Now, he's with their rivals.
New York, which has missed the playoffs for five straight seasons, will have interest in young players like Julius Randle and Bobby Portis in free agency. They have roughly $70 million in cap space to spend.
They are not expected to spend big money on top free agents but remain interested in Kawhi Leonard.
The plan is to remain patient and maintain flexibility moving forward, building around a young core that includes RJ Barrett and Kevin Knox.
At some point, that cap space from the Porzingis trade has to turn into elite talent or it will be judged harshly. Porzingis requested a trade after frustration with the organization. If he returns to his All Star form in Dallas and the Knicks fail to add the right talent with that cap space, it's going to reflect poorly on the organization.