Basketball superstars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving will be calling Brooklyn home after the future Hall of Famers agreed to lace up their shoes for the Brooklyn Nets.
Since entering the league in 2007, Durant has racked up numerous accolades — including league MVP, two NBA championships, and 10 All-Star appearances. He played his three most recent seasons with the Golden State Warriors, after spending his first nine with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Irving took the league by storm since he was selected first overall in the 2011 NBA draft, earning a reputation as one of the league’s premier point guards. Irving was recognized as an All-Star in six of his eight seasons, and won the NBA Championship in 2016 while playing alongside LeBron James on the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Durant verbally agreed to sign with the team on a four-year contract worth $164 million, while Irving came to terms on a four-year deal worth $141 million. League rules dictate that both players must wait until July 6 to officially sign their deals.
Nets fans will still have to wait to see Durant hit the hardwood in a black-and-white jersey, as he is expected to miss the entire 2019–2020 season while recovering from an Achilles tendon injury that he suffered earlier this month while playing the Game Two of the NBA finals.
The Knicks — New York’s other NBA team — reportedly balked at offering Durant the league-maximum contract because of concerns surrounding his recovery.
Despite Durant’s injury, recruiting the future Hall-of-Famers is a remarkable triumph for the franchise, which has called Brooklyn home since relocating from New Jersey in 2012.
In the 2018-2019 season, the team played to a 42-40 regular season record, clinching a spot in the playoffs where they lost in a first round best-of-seven series to the Philadelphia 76ers. The addition of Durant and Irving is expected to vault the team into the upper echelon of NBA competition.
Brooklyn officials celebrated the new era in Brooklyn basketball, including Borough President Eric Adams, who tweeted praise for the new-look Nets as the premier NBA franchise.
“The center of the NBA universe has moved to the corner of Atlantic and Flatbush!” Adams said. “Congrats to everyone in the Brooklyn Nets organization who has worked so hard to build this team into a title contender!”
Mayor Bill de Blasio — a noted Boston sports fan — tweeted his prediction for a future championship in Brooklyn.
“Confetti is going to look good on Flatbush Avenue when the Brooklyn Nets shock the world!” de Blasio said.