As the Golden State Warriors cruised through the Western Conference Finals with Kevin Durant sidelined due to a diagnosed “calf strain,” the popular opinion was that they didn’t need him to continue their successful run. The Warriors are aiming to be the first team to win three consecutive NBA championships since Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neil did it in 2000 through 2002.
That’s until the Warriors met the Toronto Raptors and lost on Friday night in what could be the last game in Oracle Arena, trailing the Raptors 3-1 in the championship series.
The question(s) now revolves around Durant. It’s evident that the Warriors aren’t as good of a team without Durant and they, in fact, need him if they want to pull off the improbable (3-1) comeback once again, for the second time in four years. Is that going to happen? Will Kevin Durant even wear a Golden State jersey again? I don’t think he will, and ESPN’s Jalen Rose’s latest remarks put some respect on that thought.
Rose revealed that he is familiar with KD’s workout from Thursday night before Game 4, and stated that it didn’t go well “on any level.” Rose even said that he’s starting to believe that Durant won’t return at all. Rose also predicted that Durant wouldn’t play Game 3 and that obviously was proven true.
So, with the probability of Durant returning to game action at this point dwindling, the conversations about his future with the franchise are starting to ramp up.
With the Brooklyn Nets being the face for New York basketball after this last season, they consider themselves strong favorites to acquire not only one, but possibly two big-name free agents this offseason. Their trade of Allen Crabbe and consecutive first-round picks to the Atlanta Hawks for Taurean Prince and a 2021 second-round draft pick was a testament to what they’re attempting to do.
ESPN reporter Brian Windhorst reported that the Nets have shifted their focus on Kyrie Irving, which goes hand-in-hand with what Adrian Wojnarowski reported two days ago that Kyrie Irving was serious about joining the Nets.
With Irving and Durant being pegged as potential teammates for some time now, the Nets have become a dark horse in stealing Irving and Durant from teams like the Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks and Los Angeles Clippers.
After finishing last season with a (42-40) record, and good enough for sixth in the Eastern Conference, the Nets have the NBA on notice and have gained respect leaguewide for the way their roster is so meticulously constructed. Brooklyn’s come up is even more impressive thinking about one of the worst trades in NBA history.
Free agency hasn’t begun yet and won’t for a few weeks, but the speculation is there. Almost reminiscent of the 2016 free agency period that got Durant to Golden State. Through this process, Durant and Irving have been expected to pair up in New York, but Brooklyn wasn’t in the conversation. This newfound interest tying the Nets, Durant, and Irving together has come at perhaps the best time, right before the decision has to be made. Brooklyn could rightfully and definitively take the state of New York as theirs.