Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving were closely associated in free agency rumors, but Durant’s decision to join the Nets was “never directly tied” to Irving signing with the team, Sports Illustrated reported.
The Nets announced Sunday that Durant had agreed to a four-year, $164 million deal, while Irving agreed to a four-year, $141 million contract. ESPN reported both players accepted less than max deals to allow Brooklyn to sign DeAndre Jordan for four years and $40 million.
Durant and Irving, teammates on Team USA during the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, reportedly had talked before last season about joining forces in free agency, and discussed several possible destinations, including the Knicks, Celtics or Nets.
Both players “veered away” from the Knicks months ago, according to a recent report, and Irving liked the Nets’ offer. According to SI, Durant wanted “a good team (and) a strong, supportive environment.”
When the Nets reached out to him, “Durant’s decision was never directly tied to Irving’s, but the opportunity to play with his close friend certainly appealed to him.”
However the two All-Stars made their decision, it will have a big impact on the NBA over the next four seasons, especially after Durant, who suffered a torn ACL in the NBA Finals, returns to action next year.