Kevin Durant heads to free agency sooner rather than later and conventional wisdom suggests he’ll reunite with the Oklahoma City Thunder, though it wouldn’t be too wise to dismiss the Brooklyn Nets.
Granted, the Nets aren’t even close to the first team that comes to mind when one bangs out a list of potential suitors if Durant wants to pack his bags and move. The Los Angeles Lakers wouldn’t mind adding him to a young core of Julius Randle and others. Ditto for the New York Knicks with Kristaps Porzingis. Don’t forget about the Miami Heat or Houston Rockets, either.
But as ESPN.com’s Mike Mazzeo wrote, the Nets have a few things going for them if they wish to enter the fray:
Well, let’s start here: Durant is represented by Roc Nation Sports and Jay Z. And which team did the hip-hop mogul turned power agent formerly hold a minority ownership stake in? The Nets. Now, let’s add this: The president/chief of branding and strategy of Roc Nation is Michael Yormark. Who is his twin brother? CEO of Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment Brett Yormark.
It’s an interesting connection, to say the least. The positives don’t stop there, of course. Brooklyn is Brooklyn, a huge media market with boatloads to offer in the upped exposure compared to Oklahoma City. Durant wouldn’t be living in Kobe Bryant’s shadow or competing directly with Porzingis for global attention or chasing LeBron James’ rings or wondering what in the world the Houston front office might have up it sleeves.
He’d be the superstar on a massive team in the Eastern Conference, which is also a pretty big bonus the writeup mentions. Sure, Durant would have to deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers, but on the whole it’s a heck of a lot easier than dealing with the San Antonio Spurs, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Clippers and many more.
As an added bonus, Durant would have to stop sparring with Russell Westbrook, though at the same time the potential move would cost him more money from a contractual standpoint.
Regardless, it’s all something to think about moving forward with the season. It seems silly the humble MVP superstar would give up on his small market that could offer more cash, but these feelings and thoughts can change in a hurry, especially depending on how the Thunder and Durant finish the season. He’s playing out of his mind again, of course, with a 26.5/4.5/7.7 slash line and the Thunder sit at 33-12 and third in the Western Conference, but again, the conference could ruin plans in an ugly way.
No matter how the season ends, Mazzeo seems to be on to something. Brooklyn has the market, the billionaire owner and plenty else going for it. If Durant desires these things and a chance to be the man on his lonesome in a conference allowing more wiggle room for title contention, this won’t be the last time his name pops up with the Nets.
For now, there’s zero reason to count out the Nets in the upcoming Kevin Durant sweepstakes.