On June 30, Kevin Durant shocked New York Knicks fans when he announced that he would sign with across-the-bridge rivals in the Brooklyn Nets in free agency, teaming up with friends and former teammates (Team USA) Kyrie Irving and DeAndre Jordan.
Technically, Kevin Durant took part in a sign-and-trade deal with the Nets that ultimately brought one time all-star D’Angelo Russell to the Bay Area. Despite the deal already completed, sources have revealed that KD originally wasn’t on board with the idea.
According to Brian Windhorst, Kevin Durant forced the Golden State Warriors to add a protected first-round pick to the deal. That pick will be (as originally stated), a first round pick so long as the Golden State Warriors register in the top 10 of the best records in the NBA in this upcoming season. If the Warriors somehow fall out of the top 10 next season, the coveted first round pick will turn into a second-rounder in six years time, when Kevin Durant will be in the midst of renegotiating his next contract at the age of 36 years old. That’s a little odd.
Durant did not feel as if the Durant for Russell deal was fair, and demanded that the Warriors include a first-round pick before he would agree to the trade. This has baffled most NBA analysts as of recent, as its quite hard to figure why Kevin Durant wanted a first round pick to be added to the deal?
To Kevin Durant, wouldn’t it be rather “insulting” if a first round pick was added in a trade for a 23-year old rising star? Perhaps Kevin Durant holds a grudge against the Dubs for the Achilles injury he sustained whilst wearing the blue and gold uniform.
Perhaps the most likely explanation is that Kevin felt that a first-round pick would help the Nets build their championship “dynasty” team. It shows the polar opposite of what Carmelo Anthony did as a member of the Denver Nuggets and his request to join the New York Knicks. Rather than wait till free agency to join a stacked young roster that the New York Knicks had, he requested a trade from the Denver basketball club, losing great teammates in favour of being the Knicks star player faster.
Whatever the case may be, a late-first round pick in what is expected to be a weak draft or a second rounder in 2026 is not expected to help Brooklyn improve/build a championship contender surrounding Durant and Kyrie. Neither asset will help achieve their goal, unless they somehow pick out the next big star late in the draft.
Regardless of whatever he thought, Durant decided to add insult to (Achilles) injury in his departure from the city that brought him his rings.