3. Kevin Durant is the ultimate pace-and-space 3
Kevin Durant is nearly 7 feet tall, but functions very well at the small forward spot. Also a willing and very able defender, one could call Durant the ultimate 3-and-D wing.
For a pace-and-space system such as that employed by the Brooklyn Nets, Durant is a seamless fit.
Able to space the floor? Durant is a career 38.4 percent shooter from 3-point range and turned in one of the NBA’s rare 50-40-90 seasons in 2012-13 with the Thunder.
Able to defend? Durant averaged 1.8 blocks per game last season and when reviewing video of Durant at the defensive end, it’s borderline criminal he’s never found his way onto an All-Defensive team.
Sir Charles In Charge
But some of that certainly spins back to the legacy issue.
The one nagging issue with Durant being your superstar is that he would need some veteran voices around him.
Being the alpha male has never suited Durant, who deferred that role to Russell Westbrook while in Oklahoma City and has happily let Stephen Curry take that on with the Golden State Warriors.
Because Durant will have three years with the Warriors, Golden State will have his full Bird rights next summer — meaning he could get a five-year deal worth up to $221 million from the Warriors.
That would be tough for Brooklyn to compete with, since their offer could only be four years and roughly $177 million (hardly a pauper’s wage, but still a lot less in total than Durant could get from the Warriors.
The other factor that could give pause to this chase is simply that Durant will be 31 before the 2019-20 season opens and a four-year deal would carry him through his age-35 season.
While he doesn’t have the workload with Golden State (averaging 33.8 minutes per game over his two seasons there) that he did with the Thunder (37.8 minutes per game over nine seasons), Durant will be looking at some sort of productivity dip, likely during his next contract.
If you’re OK with that as a GM (and honestly, a slightly less-effective Kevin Durant is still going to be far more valuable than 100 percent of most players), then Durant is worth the risk.
He could get to the media mecca of New York, completely spin a 180-degree turn on his legacy and be in a system tailor-made for his skill set.
The likelihood of this is roughly on the same level of me being named Supreme Ruler of the Galaxy, but when you’re almost a year out from free agency, that’s the time to have a little bit of fun and play the “what-if” game.