Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks told New York sports talk radio station WFAN that Kevin Durant indicated his choice to join the team in free agency came down to the style of basketball they play.
Marks made the comments on Tuesday, saying that he hadn’t talked to Durant before the injured superstar made his decision to leave Golden State and join the Nets.
Marks Didn’t Talk to KD Before Signing
In fact, Marks said that he learned about Durant’s decision at the same time as it became public knowledge, when he announced it on Instagram on June 30, just after the league’s free agency period began.
But when the two finally did get a chance to speak, Durant made it clear that he had respect for how the Nets were doing business on the court.
“I love the system. I love how you guys play,” Durant said, according to Marks. “You were never out of games. We could never take you guys lightly.”
That attitude showed itself during the season. While the Nets got off to a poor start, they rallied to finish 42-40, making the playoffs as the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference. While Brooklyn would go on to lose to the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round of the postseason, they managed to win a game and made the series more competitive than many expected.
Nets Won’t Rush Durant Back from Injury
Durant won’t be available at the start of the season for Brooklyn. The 10-time All-Star tore an Achilles tendon during the NBA Finals, and there has been plenty of speculation that the severity of the injury could keep him out for an entire campaign, meaning the Nets wouldn’t get to cash in on their new investment until the 2020-2021 season.
According to Marks, however, the Nets plan to be safe rather than sorry when it comes to Durant’s health.
“We’re certainly not going to rush him back,” Marks told WFAN. “We have far too much invested in him, and we owe it to Kevin to get him back to 100 percent…this is entirely going to be a Kevin Durant decision.”
Durant signed with the Nets on a four-year, $164 million contract. That’s less than the $221 million over five years that the Golden State Warriors were able to offer the forward. But despite that advantage, Golden State general manager Bob Myers says he felt confident there was no way for the team to retain Durant’s services.
“He felt like it was something inside of him and his heart that he wanted to try something different,” Myers told reporters on Monday. “There was nothing wrong about it. I’m at peace about it. I hope our fans can be, too.”
With Durant unlikely to contribute to Brooklyn in the upcoming season, the Nets remain a longshot to win the NBA Championship in 2020, with FanDuel Sportsbook listing the team at +2300. Even without Durant, the Warriors (+1500) remain a more viable contender, though they are now considered to be far behind the Los Angeles Clippers (+320) and Lakers (+480).