The NBA’s most recent free agency market has been the wildest that it’s ever been. Who could’ve imagined a Finals MVP winner leaving his championship team less than a month after dethroning the last season’s champions to sign with an eighth seeded Western Conference playoff team.
It would be a script for Hollywood. A drama and a fairytale, but Kawhi Leonard envisioned it and saw it through, officially departing the Toronto Raptors early Saturday morning, less than a month after leading Toronto to the championship against the Golden State Warriors.
The Brooklyn Nets’ Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving deals weren’t as dramatic per say, but they were suspenseful. Credit Brooklyn for putting the mechanisms in place to transform this franchise into a destination location.
To complete the Durant deal, along with a protected 2020 first round draft pick from the Golden State Warriors, Brooklyn gives up guards D’Angelo Russell and Shabazz Napier along with forward Treveon Graham.
Expressing his exuberance, Nets General Manager Sean Marks stated, “Kevin is a champion, a perennial All-Star and one of the great players of this, or any, generation. Adding a player of Kevin’s caliber to our organization elevates our ability to compete with the elite teams in this league.
“His tremendous abilities and dedication to his craft have made him as talented an offensive player our game has ever seen and we, as well as all of Brooklyn, are thrilled to welcome Kevin and his family to the Nets.”
Marks also thanked Russell for his contributions to the Nets these past two seasons.
“He was an integral part of the team’s growth and served as a tremendous representative of the Nets and Brooklyn. We wish him, Shabazz and Treveon nothing but the best in the years ahead.”
For Brooklyn, the excitement, the exuberance doesn’t just end there. Irving also inked his deal this week, putting one of the NBA’s most prolific players into their backcourt.
“Kyrie is one of the NBA’s elite guards and has won at the highest level,” said Marks. “His championship pedigree coupled with his gifted scoring and playmaking abilities will make him an outstanding addition to our team. We’re very excited to welcome Kyrie and his family to Brooklyn.”
Speaking for his staff, anxious for the opportunity to get acclimated with a player of Irving’s caliber, Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson added, “He is as talented and accomplished as any point guard in our game and we are enthusiastic about integrating him and our other new roster additions into our returning core.”
There’s no doubt about Brooklyn’s overall excitement. Their pre-season schedule has already been announced, an Oct. 4 start date, and season tickets for 2019-2020 are now on sale.