When the Brooklyn Nets signed Kevin Durant as a free agent in the summer, the glimmer of hope was slim that the forward would play this season. On Thursday, Durant, who underwent Achilles surgery prior to signing with the Nets after injuring his leg in the NBA Finals, officially declared himself out for the rest of the season. Although rumors of a return in March were bandied about during preseason, the Nets must wait until 2020-21 for Durant to make his team debut.
The move is a smart one and, in the end, could be the difference between another injury and a long career with the Nets. Durant is currently rehabbing his Achilles and during an interview with ESPN’s Steven A. Smith on Thursday, stated he won’t be available to play until next season.
Brooklyn Nets in dire need of Durant
During his final year with the Golden State Warrior, Durant spent every day fielding questions surrounding his pending free agency. If the forward wasn’t being questioned personally, his departure was being speculated about. Now with the Nets, his return is the focus of the NBA media.
The Nets would love Durant to be available to play after they opened up the NBA season at 1-3 with their only win coming against the lowly New York Knicks. Brooklyn’s defense has been appalling allowing 118 or more points per game in all three losses. A Friday night game against the Houston Rockets should see the Nets defense get torched once more with James Harden and Russell Westbrook lining up on the opposite side of the hardwood.
With Durant out, the offense has been laid squarely at the feet of fellow summer free agent signing Kyrie Irving. He guard is averaging 35.3 points per game which is second in the league behind the Rockets’ Harden (36.8 ppg). While Irving has been scoring points, the rest of the team has not. Caris LeVert’s 18.5 ppg is second to Irving and a lack of secondary scorers is a major factor in the Nets’ rotten start.
In contrast to Brooklyn’s 1-3 opening to the season, Irving’s former team, the Boston Celtics have begun 3-1. Criticism was rife in Boston during Irving’s time in Bean Town and the guard may need Durant to make the Nets a true playoff contender.
Leaving the Golden State Warriors
Durant won’t play a game in 2019-20, but that hasn’t stopped him from grabbing headlines. Along with his interview with Smith declaring that he won’t be available this season, Durant talked about his decision to leave the Golden State Warriors.
Durant stated it was time for a change, but added in a Wall Street Journal interview that “as time went on, I started to realize I’m just different from the rest of the guys.” He also admitted the on-court flare-up with Draymond Green helped push him toward the exit.
The more Durant has spoken recently, the more he has shed light on why he left Golden State. To a point, it appears it was his failure to truly fit in that caused him to leave. During his WSJ interview, Durant claimed not being drafted by the franchise or “rehabilitated” by Golden State were two of the reasons he left. In addition, the team’s motion offense forced him to rethink his career path. Next season’s Golden State-Brooklyn game played in San Francisco is already getting some spice thrown on top of it.