Sundays are known for football, relaxing and get-togethers — but Brooklyn Nets fans are going to remember Sunday, June 30, 2019 as when the Nets were the clear winners of NBA free agency.
All-Star free agents Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving both agreed to four-year deals with Brooklyn on Sunday, as first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski. In addition, DeAndre Jordan reportedly agreed to a four-year, $40 million deal with the Nets, with Garrett Temple also reportedly agreeing to a two-year, $10 million deal.
Durant made the move official on his “The Boardroom” Instagram.
Both Durant and Irving agreed to take deals below the max for Jordan to have a $10 million yearly salary, according to Woj and Ramona Shelburne. Durant was originally reported to receive the max $161 million over four years, while Irving was set to earn a reported max of $141 million.
While Durant will likely sit out the 2019-20 season as he recovers from an Achilles injury, this is still a day that solidified what the Nets have built in the face of adversity. The KG-Paul Pierce trade was a reason for NBA fans to laugh at for years, but the laughs officially stop now.
Sean Marks has done what he set out to do: reset the culture, develop young talent, win with consistency — and the stars will follow. And, that talent will choose Brooklyn over the allure across the river at The Garden.
It was the plan all along, and Barclays will now be the hottest ticket in town even before Durant steps foot on the court.
Of course, Brooklyn will have to prove the sacrifices were worth it. The team is moving on from youth, leadership and All-Star talent in D’Angelo Russell, which is the largest gamble in this situation. Russell is reportedly heading to Golden State as of Sunday night in a sign-and-trade deal, according to Shams Charania and Woj, but Marks is wagering that any off-court drama from Irving does not affect what was a bench-dancing, close-knit group.
Hope D’Angelo finds success in Golden State. Thank you for an incredible season, funnest season in a while. Thank you D-lo, We love you. pic.twitter.com/PoI9ULERyp
— The Brooklyn Game (@TheBKGame) July 1, 2019
Questioning of Irving’s off-court impact took place throughout the leadup to free agency, but Marks would not have traded picks in the draft if he were not making space for what he expected to see happen on Sunday. Brooklyn was reported to have a vision of Durant, Irving and Jordan as a “Big Three,” which is now reality.
As reported by Woj, Irving decided weeks ago that he wanted to come back home to the New York area — and he didn’t want to do it alone. After weighing his options of the Knicks or Nets, he decided Brooklyn had the best overall benefit, and the pairing with Jordan was enough to lure Durant from Golden State, according to Marc Stein.
While Irving brings a step up in talent on the court, averaging 23.8 points and 6.9 assists last season, it’s yet to be seen how well Jordan will fit into the puzzle. Averaging 11 points and 13.1 rebounds last season, his old school play and past vulnerability at the free throw line are potential red flags in Brooklyn’s fast-paced, ball-sharing style.
Still, backing up Irving and Jordan on the bench are Spencer Dinwiddie and Jarrett Allen, two starting-caliber players that can fill in for long spans if need be. It’s a dynamic that can work well in Brooklyn.
Meanwhile, a small forward/guard in Temple who averaged 7.8 points and 1.4 assists last season with the Grizzlies and Clippers adds to Brooklyn’s versatility on the bench.
Brooklyn has already said goodbye to DeMarre Carroll (off to San Antonio) and Ed Davis (off to Utah) in addition to Russell, Shabazz Napier and Treveon Graham heading to the Warriors. Both Carroll and DAvis were key veteran presences on last year’s squad, and they will be missed as Brooklyn moves onto its new-look lineup.
Once the deals agreed upon on Sunday can officially be signed on July 6, Brooklyn’s roster will be made up of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, DeAndre Jordan, Caris LeVert, Joe Harris, Spencer Dinwiddie, Jarrett Allen, Taurean Prince, Rodions Kurucs, Dzanan Musa and Garrett Temple, for starters — a strong starting five, one where LeVert can continue to grow his star status, with a promising bench.
Brooklyn went from a laughing stock to a “work-hard” mentality. That work-hard mentality led to winning. That winning has led to All-Stars.
There will be a wait to see all the pieces at work, but it will be nothing compared to the wait Nets fans had up to get to this point, from 12-70 to a destination.
Finally, everything’s coming up Brooklyn.