Kevin Durant free agency update: All-Star forward announces he will sign $164M max deal with Nets

Kevin Durant free agency update: All-Star forward announces he will sign $164M max deal with Nets

Kevin Durant is not going to draw out his free agency decision this summer. When free agency officially opened up on Sunday evening, the superstar forward announced on his sports business network Instagram account that he will be joining the Brooklyn Nets. 

According to a report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Durant’s deal will be worth $164 million over four years. 

Durant, of course, suffered a torn Achilles tendon during Game 5 of the NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and Toronto Raptors. As a result, he’s expected to miss all of next season, but that clearly didn’t dissuade the Nets from offering Durant a max deal. 

On a personal level, it’s a clear sign that Durant was ready to move on from Golden State, as they were able to offer him an extra year and $60 million more. In fact, the New York Times’ Marc Stein reported that the Warriors were set to offer Durant a five-year, $221 million max contract as soon as free agency opened up. Giving up that much money and an extra year guaranteed is a lot for any player, but especially one who just suffered one of the worst injuries in basketball. There’s no guarantee that Durant is the same player when he returns, and it’s not an unreasonable possibility that this is the last big contract he signs. 

The Nets, though, are clearly not worried about the risk of Durant returning as a much lesser player. Or, at least, the upside of a Durant-Kyrie Irving partnership was too great to pass up. For Brooklyn, this completes an absolute masterclass of a rebuild. It was just six years ago that they sold the future of the franchise to the Boston Celtics for aging veterans Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett in one of the worst trades in NBA history. Now, they’re in a better position than the Celtics moving forward. 

Next season, though, will be interesting, as Irving will be placed in a leadership role with a bunch of young players who just had plenty of success without him. It’s a similar position to the one he faced this season with the Celtics, and it didn’t go so well. Of course, the prospect of Kevin Durant coming wasn’t on the horizon for the Celtics, but this will still be a test of Irving’s leadership skills. 

Regardless of the potential pitfalls, though, this is a tremendous day for the Nets franchise. They should be a force to be reckoned with for years to come. 

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