Former Texas Longhorn and current NBA player Kevin Durant confirmed Tuesday that he has tested positive for COVID-19. (RALPH BARRERA/AMERICAN-STATESMAN FILE)

Coast to coast: Kevin Durant leaves Golden State, agrees to $164 million deal with Brooklyn Nets

Posted June 30th, 2019

Advertisement

NEW YORK — Kevin Durant is headed to the Brooklyn Nets, leaving the Golden State Warriors after three seasons.

The former Texas Longhorn’s decision was announced Sunday at the start of the NBA free agency period on the Instagram page for the Boardroom, an online series looking at sports business produced by Durant and business partner Rich Kleiman.

Durant won titles with Golden State in 2017 and 2018 but was injured for much of the postseason this year as his team lost the NBA Finals in six games to the Toronto Raptors.

Advertisement

A ruptured right Achilles tendon could keep him out all of next season, but whenever he returns, it will be in the Brooklyn black.

Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors dunks the ball during the game against the Cleveland Cavaliers during Game One of the 2017 NBA Finals at Oracle Arena on June 1, 2017 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

ESPN first reported Durant’s decision, saying he had agreed to a four-year deal worth $164 million. Durant could have gotten five years and about $221 million to remain with the Warriors.

Durant, a 10-time All-Star who just completed his 12th NBA season, was leading all postseason scorers at 34.2 points per game when he strained his right calf May 8 in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Houston Rockets. He had seven 30-point performances during this year’s playoffs.

It’s unclear how he will play when he returns, but the Nets were willing to take a chance with a team on the rise.

Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors reacts to a play against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 2 of the 2017 NBA Finals at ORACLE Arena on June 4, 2017 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Brooklyn finished 42-40 this season and lost in the first round of the playoffs but got a huge victory Sunday when it beat out the Warriors, New York Knicks and Los Angeles Clippers for Durant.

Durant, who grew up in the Washington, D.C., area and spent one season with the Longhorns, played his first year with the Seattle SuperSonics before they departed for Oklahoma City. He played eight seasons there with the Thunder before joining the Warriors in 2016.

He was heavily criticized for that move, seen as taking an easy route by joining a team that had just won an NBA-record 73 games. But it worked out for Durant and the Warriors, as he was the NBA Finals MVP for their championships in both 2017 and 2018.

This season was filled with talk of his future, sometimes to Durant’s annoyance, though for much of the season it was focused on the Knicks if he decided to leave. But the Nets became a more attractive option with young talent that should help them be competitive next season while Durant recovers.

The Warriors will have to move on without Durant, who had three games with at least 45 points in the postseason before getting hurt. They still have Stephen Curry and Draymond Green and were expected to re-sign Klay Thompson, though he will miss much or all of next season after tearing an ACL in the NBA Finals.

The bigger disappointment might be for the Knicks, who had cleared enough money to sign two maximum salary free agents when they traded Kristaps Porzingis during the season. The hope was that Durant would be one of them, but instead he will end up a few miles across the river with a team that could be poised to be the dominant one in the city for years.

Comments