It's the question on every Nets' fan's mind now that the Thunder have been officially bounced from the playoffs: Can the Nets figure out a way to get Kevin Durant to take up permanent residence at Atlantic and Flatbush?
NetsDaily was right on the ball Tuesday morning, putting together a nice primer on Durant's ties to the area, including the fact that he's represented by Roc Nation and the recent hiring of Adam Harrington. So too was Mike Mazzeo's report he put together back in January that examined how New York may appeal to this summer's most coveted free agent. And, as NetsDaily was quick to point out, Mazzeo had sources beyond his speculation his report.
Will Durant flirt with Brooklyn just to get a better deal elsewhere, or if his interest in genuine? Unfortunately, there is just no way to know until negotiations start to unfold.
I know that's not what anyone wants to hear, but it's the truth. These big free agent contracts often go in unexpected directions. Thinking back to LeBron James' two big decisions, did anyone truly anticipate him leaving Cleveland for Miami, then returning the favor and scorning South Beach for his hometown? Only revisionist historians. The truth is that neither of those possibilities were ever considered realistic until a day or two before the King inked his name on the dotted line.
The scenarios could be even more maddening with Durant. Yes, he could reignite this rebuild in Brooklyn in a hurry, but practically every team has both the cap room and desire to add KD to their fold. Maybe the better question is would Durant stand to gain anything from coming here? That's a much more interesting debate.
It certainly seems like Durant's ultra-nice guy image and his carefully-cultivated personal brand is extremely important to him, and he certainly has room to foster a deeply-loyal following in Brooklyn. In fact, because the Nets so often fly under the radar, he can probably get the best of both worlds in Brooklyn: plenty of attention and big city glitz when he wants it, but not as much as he'd have to endure playing for a premiere franchise like the Knicks.
In that way, Durant could come here and build something completely new with the Nets, becoming the brightest star in an embattled franchise history in the process. He'd also enjoy two big talents in the front court to start building something viable in an extremely weak Eastern Conference, getting a much-needed reprieve from the Warriors and Spurs as well. Would that be enough? Or could he even get that somewhere else without having to risk subjecting himself to the black hole this organization has admittedly turned into the past year and a half?
It's hard to say, but Nets fans will certainly dream the KD dream. And why not? It would certainly make things interesting in the borough again, wouldn't it?