Apparently the Brooklyn Nets were in the dark with the rest of us until news broke at the opening of free agency that he planned to join the team.
The news that Durant intended to sign with the Nets was the first significant move of NBA free agency when the period officially opened last Sunday.
Durant later confirmed the report on Instagram.
Marks: News broke to them on Instagram
This all apparently happened without the Nets’ knowledge. Brooklyn general manager Sean Marks told reporters in a Tuesday news conference that Durant’s Instagram message arrived before the superstar even met with the team.
This statement raises multiple questions.
Does that mean that Durant didn’t directly speak to the team or that none of his representatives spoke with the team?
While the entire NBA world was fully aware that the Nets had cleared cap space and would jump at the chance to sign Durant — Achilles tear or no Achilles tear — it’s difficult to fathom how Durant would just make this decision that requires consent from two parties without actually consulting the team committing to him via a nine-figure contract.
That doesn’t add up.
There was no tampering going on here
Is this just a tampering dodge from Marks?
While teams are technically forbidden from consulting with pending free agents until the official start of free agency, it’s also understood that the rule is largely a joke.
News that Kemba Walker was leaving the Charlotte Hornets for the Boston Celtics broke a full day before the start of free agency. Several top players reportedly agreed to deals in the minutes and hours after free agency started.
News of Durant’s deal actually broke more than an hour prior to the official 6 p.m. free agency kickoff on June 30. This is all done without an eye batted by the NBA. Unless Doc Rivers makes public pleas on ESPN airwaves or Magic Johnson talks about players in the media, the NBA largely ignores its tampering policy.
It doesn’t make sense that Marks would be concerned.
Only the NBA
Does the NBA offseason continue to be the most compelling thing in sports?
Whatever the real details behind the Nets’ dealings with Durant, Marks’ admission Tuesday is just the latest example of the lobbying, recruiting and negotiating of NBA free agency staking its claim as sports’ highest-level drama.
Will Durant play next season?
As for what’s next with Durant and the Nets, Marks was appropriately non-committal about the status of the injured superstar. He said that Durant underwent a full medical evaluation on Monday and wouldn’t speculate one way or another whether Durant will play next season.
It’s impossible to know how Durant will recover from his Achilles tear or put a timeline on his return this early in the game.
Either way, the Nets are surely happy with the deal, even if they didn’t see it coming.
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