Kevin Durant is officially a free agent, as ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski says he has declined his $31.5 million option to return to the Warriors next season.
Before Durant's Achilles injury, this move was basically 100 percent going to happen. But there was the thought that he might want to opt back into his deal with Golden State following his surgery, and then hit the market next season.
However, Woj added that opting in would be Durant's "last resorts, as teams have still shown tremendous interest in arguably the best player in the league, even though he is likely out all of next season. SNY's Ian Begley has been reporting the Nets believe they are among the desired teams in Durant's camp.
The Knicks and Clippers are also among top teams looking at the 10-time All-Star. The Lakers are also attempting to clear another max slot.
Brooklyn has made the right moves this summer to potentially create two max slots for themselves. They got rid of Allen Crabbe's contract in a trade with the Hawks, and recently non-tendered Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. Trading down in the NBA Draft from No. 27 to No. 31 also gave them a couple extra million to work with.
The main proponent, though, will be whether or not they re-sign D'Angelo Russell, who is a restricted free agent. If the Nets don't bring him back, they'll have the room to add another max player with Durant.
Kyrie Irving is at the top of the list, and teams interested in pursuing the dynamic point guard are in belief that Brooklyn is his desired choice. However, The Post's Brian Lewis says the Nets are now unsure if they can add Irving without Durant. So one would expect the Nets to be very aggressive in their pursuit of the power forward.
They have already showcased that determination, as the New York Times' Marc Stein reports Brooklyn showing interest in DeAndre Jordan. The Knicks kept Jordan around for a reason following their Kristaps Porzingis trade with the Mavs, due to Jordan's strong friendship with Durant. If Jordan ends up with the Nets, that's just another reason Durant may consider them over anyone else.
GM Sean Marks will have his options this summer, and he will look to surprise the league and make big splashes. The Nets were the biggest surprise in the league last season after capturing a playoff spot, and adding players like Durant and Irving will only make them more of a contender going forward.