The Kevin Durant saga is over.
The four-time scoring champion submitted a trade request on June 30. Now, the superstar forward will have to rely on postgame jersey swaps to grab a new uniform. His near $43M salary will remain on Brooklyn’s books.
After reports indicated that Durant wanted head coach Steve Nash and general manager Sean Marks fired, he and star guard Kyrie Irving will suit up for the Nets this season. The pair will tiptoe back over burnt Brooklyn Bridges to try to bring a championship to the borough.
Play Your Cards Right, No Booster Packs
The team’s asking price was too rich for the rest of the league. The team was reportedly asking for multiple young players and draft picks. After Rudy Gobert‘s move from Utah to Minnesota cost the Timberwolves five players and five picks, Brooklyn expected a similar or better return.
But with all the cards on the table, other teams knew when to hold them. It was black and white for Brooklyn, and they knew when to fold them. With the hook clean, it became obvious that the fish were not going to bite.
Durant’s contract and injury history likely posed issues for potential suitors. The forward, who will be 34 when the season starts, stands to make $194,219,320 over his next four seasons. His age 37 season will see him get paid $53.3M, and injuries have caused him to miss all of one season and significant portions of his last two seasons with the Nets.
All or Nothing?
The Eastern Conference will not be an easy hill to climb. The Celtics added 2017 Rookie of the Year Malcolm Brogdon to the fray after sweeping Brooklyn en route to a Finals appearance. Two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks will remain a formidable foe.
The Atlanta Hawks will look to improve after adding first time all-star Dejounte Murray. Meanwhile, the Nets will play chess with the same knights and bishops, save for a few minor shakeups.
But its championship or bust for the Nets, and they haven’t been to the mountaintop.