KD’s Decision To Join Nets

He announced he was signing with a team before he told the team?

Jim Rome
July 17, 2019 - 11:51 am
Kevin Durant

USA Today

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It’s been two and a half weeks since Kevin Durant announced that he was joining the Brooklyn Nets. And according to the Nets, they were as surprised as anyone. 

GM Sean Marks told WFAN that they were kind of in the dark when it came to his decision-making process: "What we knew was we were either getting a teleconference call with Kevin that night or we were going to potentially get a meeting. We'd seen some media reports earlier in the day that Kevin had crossed several teams off his list, and we were still [being considered]. And those reports were there for everybody to read. And then when Kevin posted it on The Boardroom Instagram site, that was news to all of us in the office."

Wait, what? He announced he was signing with a team before he told the team? And before he met with the team? Am I hearing that correctly? 

And if so, how weird is that? Almost as weird as passing on playing with Steph, Klay, and Draymond so that you can play with Kyrie. 

But let’s continue. What was the reasoning behind Durant’s decision to join the Nets? Marks said that when he first spoke to Durant after the decision was announced, KD said: "I love the system. I love how you guys play. I see how hard you guys play. ... You were never out of games. We could never take you guys lightly." 

Again, what? Am I really correct in thinking that he chose the Nets because he loved their system and how hard they played? That was the reason? Are we really to believe this was purely a basketball decision?

Because if it’s purely a basketball decision, as good as the Nets are and could be, are they really better at this point than the Warriors, even a Warriors team that would’ve been missing Durant and Klay for most of, if not all of, next season? Do they have a better system than the Warriors. Do they player harder than the Warriors. Were the Warriors ever out of games? Did anyone ever taken them lightly. The signing at the time seemed weird, and it’s getting weirder. 

Don’t get me wrong. I really like the Nets. I love what Sean Marks has built as a GM and how he’s built it. This was a team that was at rock bottom and had traded away most of its picks when he arrived, and he’s built this into a playoff team with some incredibly smart moves and smart draft picks.

And I love Kenny Atkinson as a head coach. He has done a tremendous job developing players and developing a culture and an identity. His teams DO play hard. And they DO get after you. There is no doubt they are greater than the sum of their parts. 

But the Warriors played the Nets twice last season. They beat them by 6 in October and by 16 in November. And then never saw them again. So how much Nets basketball was Durant watching last year? 

And by the way, the last time Durant faced the Nets, it was before Caris LeVert suffered his injury and before the team nosedived when he went down. And before they turned it around and reached the playoffs. So again, how familiar was Durant with the Nets before he made his announcement? 

I know that all the great players study the league like crazy. These guys are League Pass junkies. As Scott Brooks would tell you, guys like John Wall and Bradley Beal know everything there is to know about just about anyone who’s ever picked up a basketball.

So I can see Durant having a level of familiarity with the Nets from afar, but that’s what it was. From afar. He’s three thousand miles away. How much can you really know about a team’s culture from across the country when you only see them for a total of 96 minutes seven months before you make your decision? 

If this decision was about the Nets and about how he fit in with them, wouldn’t he want to maybe go visit the practice facility? Maybe meet with the training staff because…I don’t know, he’s coming back from a major Achilles injury? 

I know Durant wanted to make it clear in this process that he’s his own man and that he can’t be recruited, but if you’re taking a new job that’s somewhat basketball-related, don’t you want to talk to the guys who are involved in basketball at your new job?

Don’t get me wrong. If he’s choosing the Nets because of Sean Marks, Kenny Atkinson, and the team culture, he’s making a great choice. 

But if he’s choosing the Nets because of Sean Marks, Kenny Atkinson, and the team culture, wouldn’t he want to meet with Sean Marks, Kenny Atkinson, and experience the team culture?

So if we’re being honest, how much of this was about choosing the Nets and how much was about choosing to be in New York for non-basketball reasons, and not wanting to be with the Knicks? And really, how much of this is about getting away from the Warriors because he never got the credit he thought he would winning it all on a team that had won it all before he arrived.

Again, that’s no bashing the Nets. I respect the hell out of the Nets. Hell, They’ve gone from being a laughingstock a few years ago to a playoff team that has such a good reputation that Hall of Fame players are willing to sign with them without even meeting them. I’m saying that’s really impressive for the Nets. But really, really weird of Durant.  If you’re making biggest move of your career, wouldn’t you first talk to the people you’re going to work with and work for before you make that move? I guess when Durant said he couldn’t be recruited, he meant it. Actually what he meant was, none of them were even allowed to talk to him. You don’t pick him, he picks you and he doesn’t without actually spending any time with you. KD can be a different cat, but even for KD this is weird. Really weird.