The narrative this summer surrounding Kevin Durant was that his fate was tied to that of Kyrie Irving’s. According to numerous sources, the two had become close to the point of being inseparable during the 2019 All-Star break. Their rugged “us against the world” personalities match, and their play on the court seems like an ideal fit as well. On paper, it’s a match made in heaven.
But according to a new story by Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix, Irving was not the reason why Durant signed with the Nets.
“Durant’s decision took longer. The Knicks were in play, though never to the all-but-done-deal extent that had been reported. So, too, were the Warriors, who could offer a five-year, $221 million contract—one year and $57 million more than Brooklyn could pay. What Durant wanted was simple. A good team. A strong, supportive environment. The Nets checked all the boxes. Durant’s decision was never directly tied to Irving’s, but the opportunity to play with his close friend certainly appealed to him.”
So, the Knicks and Warriors were in play until the very end. And rather than his decision stemming from where Kyrie ended up, he had his own agenda. He wanted a winning, positive franchise that was willing to embrace Durant and his brand.
The under-marketed, but brilliantly run Nets and their power-hungry but welcoming fans certainly fit the bill and were essentially the deciding factor for getting KD.
We will see if his NBA return in Brooklyn will mark the same success as he has been accustomed to seeing in Golden State for the past three years.