Kevin Durant to depart Warriors for Nets as NBA free agent
LOS ANGELES, USA – Two-time NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Kevin Durant announced Sunday, June 30 (Monday, July 1, Philippine time) that he will depart the Golden State Warriors, his team since 2016, for the Brooklyn Nets.
The 30-year-old star forward made his announcement on social media moments after the start of the NBA's free agency period, saying he will sign a maximum-level deal with the Nets.
Durant commands top dollar despite the fact that he suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon in Game 5 of this year's finals and is expected to miss all of the 2019-2020 season.
"Kevin Durant has confirmed he will sing a max deal with the Brooklyn Nets," said a post on the Instagram and Twitter accounts of The Boardroom, his company-owned sports-business network.
A max deal for Durant would be worth some $164 million over 4 years. The Warriors could have offered him $221 million over 5 years to stay.
Under NBA free agency rules, teams cannot sign contracts with players until Saturday, so no deals will be confirmed until then.
Multiple US media outlets reported that Boston Celtics playmaker Kyrie Irving would be joining Durant in Brooklyn on a four-year deal worth $141 million.
It could give the Nets a formidable duo once Durant returns from an upcoming year of rehabilitation, provided Durant can regain the form that helped power the Warriors to the 2017 and 2018 NBA crowns.
It was in 2016 at the start of the free agency period when the Warriors, who had just been beaten by Cleveland in the NBA Finals, went to Durant and asked him to join them after the star forward opted to leave Oklahoma City.
Durant had the Warriors looking like champions again this year before a right calf injury sidelined him. Durant missed 9 games before returning in Game 5 of the NBA Finals against Toronto. He scored 11 points in 12 minutes before suffering the ruptured tendon that required surgery two days later.
Durant and Irving were both reported to be targets of the New York Knicks – who were coming off a league-worst 17-65 season and had cleared salary cap space to sign proven talent to join their inexperienced squad.
ESPN reported that Knicks owner James Dolan wasn't prepared to offer Durant a maximum deal because of his injury and the club was reported to have instead agreed to terms with Julius Randle and Taj Gibson.
Randle, 24, averaged 21.4 points, 8.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists in 73 games with the New Orleans Pelicans last season. Gibson, 34, averaged 10.8 points and 6.5 rebounds in 70 games with the Minnesota Timberwolves. – Rappler.com