Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving—both Net gains for Brooklyn
VINCENT DAVIS | 7/3/2019, 2:23 p.m.
Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant dunked on—no slammed—the basketball world Sunday evening, June 30, at the start of the NBA free agency season by both agreeing to sign with the Brooklyn Nets, a package deal that also includes Deandre Jordan. Irving and Durant are agreeing to take less money so that Jordan, turning 31 this month, can be compensated for four years.
The Irving signing had been recently speculated, but Durant’s move to Brooklyn is somewhat shocking, considering that he’s departing the Golden State Warriors, a modern day dynasty.
With Durant, turning 31 in September, the Warriors have won two back-to-back championships (2017 / 2018) since he joined them in 2016. His play won him NBA Finals Most Vauable Player awards both times. Post season player injuries, including one to Durant, prevented the Warriors from effectively competing against the Toronto Raptors in this year’s Finals, losing to them in June in six games.
Irving, 27, is a talented, creative guard who can create his own shot or find the open man. The 2012 NBA Rookie of the Year, Irving was selected with the first pick in the 2011 draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers after spending one year playing for Duke.
Along with LeBron James, Irving won the Cavs a championship in 2016 before forcing the team to trade him before the start of the 2017-18 season to the Boston Celtics. Issues with James was supposedly the reason for him requesting the trade.
During his time with Cleveland and Boston, he’s had problems with his left knee. The latest issue kept him out from the end of March 2018 to the start of the 18-19 season.
It was during the start of the 18-19 season, now his last in Boston that Irving told a crowd of season ticket holders, “If you guys will have me back, I plan on re-signing here next year.”
Irving cited financial reasons, financial implications as the reason why he didn’t sign a contract extension. If he had signed one last summer, he potentially would have shorted himself of a reported $80 million.
Durant, also signing with his third team, first signing with the Oklahoma Thunder in 2007, also a Rookie of the Year (2008), gave Golden State fans positive reasons to believe he’d re-sign there by rushing back from a May 8 right calf injury against the Houston Rockets that sidelined him for four weeks and five days to play in Game 5 of the NBA Finals June 10 against Toronto, only to tear his Achilles after dropping 11 points, 3 consecutive three’s and 2 rebounds in 12 minutes of play.
Jordan, a 6-11, 265 pound banger that Brooklyn needed even if Irving and Durant hadn’t signed, was drafted in 2008, No. 35 in the second round by the L.A. Clippers. He played there for 10 seasons before signing with the Dallas Mavericks in 2018, then being traded earlier this year to the New York Knicks.