Ian Begley, SNY.tv | Twitter |
Even if the NBA season extends into August due to the coronavirus crisis, it doesn't sound like Kevin Durant will return to the court for the Nets.
Rich Kleiman, Durant's business partner and manager, downplayed the possibility of the two-time Finals MVP returning this summer during an interview on ESPN Radio Tuesday.
"Honestly, not very realistic from my standpoint and not even spoken about," Kleiman said when asked on the Golic and Wingo Show about the possibility of Durant returning in July or August. "…. It clearly was not something that was in the cards prior to all this. And now, just like the rest of the world, it's hard to take anything more than day by day. I think that Kevin's going to figure out the space that he needs to be in to continue to rehab during this time. Even that is hard to answer at this point with the new kind of rules that were put in place (restricting player travel)."
Complicating matters even further, Durant is one of four Nets players who has tested positive for COVID-19, though the forward is said to be feeling fine and is asymptomatic.
Durant has been rehabbing from Achilles surgery for the entire season. He and the Nets had consistently ruled out the possibility of him playing this year.
But some fans/pundits speculated that Durant might be able to return to the court if the season extended into July or August, which is one possibility reportedly being discussed by owners amid coronavirus concerns.
Kleiman dismissed that possibility on Tuesday, though Durant's plans could always change based on how things progress. No one knows when or if the season is going to resume, so it doesn't make sense for Kleiman to say anything concrete about a possible return for Durant.
In a recent interview with the Washington Post, Kleiman said there was a possibility that Durant could play in the 2020 Olympics this summer before he suited up for Brooklyn. Durant was criticized by some for thinking about suiting up for his country prior to playing a game with the Nets, who inked Durant to a max contract last summer.
Kleiman said he isn't surprised by the criticism.
"I understand it. Everyone wants to see these guys play. They feel like, when they get paid a certain amount of money for some reason, at times, they feel like (the athletes) owe (fans something)," Kleiman said. "But I think you've seen, in every decision Kevin's made -- and in the NBA in general -- they've been front and center in advocating for themselves and doing what's right for themselves.
"If Kevin felt like the Olympics was the best tune up for him being the best version of himself for the Nets next year, or if Kevin felt like he wanted to go represent his country, (he would do it). I think now (with the season suspended due to the coronavirus) it makes things kind of seem like, 'Oh that makes sense -- going out there and wanting to compete with the best players in the world on behalf of your country. If it's the right thing health-wise and the right thing for him and the team, he's going to do it. I wasn't surprised (about the criticism), I understand people's concern."