Kevin Durant rejected a $31.5 million player option with the Golden State Warriors at the end of the 2018-2019 season. Although he was nursing an injury he sustained in the 2019 NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors, he opted to go into free agency.
Despite missing the entire 2019-20 season due to a ruptured Achilles suffered in 2019, Kevin Durant came back stronger in the 2020-21 season with the Brooklyn Nets. That reminded the NBA community why he is still one of the most prolific scorers in the league’s history. His partnership with Kyrie Irving and James Harden created a super team that most favored to win the 2021 NBA Finals.
However, things did not go according to plan as injuries plagued the Brooklyn Nets. Kevin Durant shared the court with Irving and Harden only eight times in the regular season. While they were all healthy ahead of the postseason, their reunion did not last as injuries came calling.
Harden pulled his hamstring one minute into the first game of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Milwaukee Bucks. Kyrie sprained his ankle in Game 4 after landing awkwardly on Giannis Antetokounmpo’s foot. Kevin Durant was tasked with helping the Nets advance to the conference finals, which was a big ask.
The Brooklyn Nets fell to the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 7 despite Kevin Durant’s heroic performances. He single-handedly put the Nets ahead in Game 5 with a record-breaking triple-double. Achieving that required him to play every minute of the game. Despite a similar performance in the deciding Game 7, the Nets were edged out of the tournament.
The Brooklyn Nets’ failure to compete for the championship might have fans wondering if Kevin Durant needs to make a move away from the franchise. With free agency around the corner, here’s a look at Kevin Durant’s contract with the Brooklyn Nets.
Kevin Durant is two seasons away from entering NBA free agency
Things went smoothly for the two-time NBA Finals MVP in the 2019 offseason as he agreed to a four-year $164 million deal with the Brooklyn Nets. Although Kevin Durant’s ability is unquestionable, fans and the Nets front office wondered if he would be as productive as he was with the Golden State Warriors.
The deal includes $159,955,700 guaranteed, an annual average salary of $41,063,925, and a player option that runs through the 2022-23 season. At the end of the period, it is up to Kevin Durant to decide what his next step will be. Durant is also eligible for $1.05 million as he met at least two of the set conditions.
Health played a significant role in the Brooklyn Nets’ 2021 NBA playoffs run. But with the firepower they have, it could be theirs for the taking in 2022.
Where the Brooklyn Nets failed woefully was in building a sturdy defensive unit. The Nets relied so much on their offense and hoped to simply outscore every opponent. While it is evident that Kevin Durant is not leaving anytime soon, the Nets need to take advantage of the offseason and bring in players that will help the team defensively.
Kevin Durant just concluded his first season with the Brooklyn Nets after missing an entire year. It is mind-blowing to imagine how effective he will be next season now that he has re-acclimatized himself with the game.
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