Seconds after free agency began Sunday evening, Kevin Durant made official what had been reported an hour earlier after gaining momentum for the past week: He and Kyrie Irving will, in fact, team up in New York, as had been rumored for the better part of a year.
The curveball is the team. As first reported by ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the two superstars will be joining the Brooklyn Nets, not the New York Knicks.
It was the counterintuitive choice based on all the noise that's been circulating around the NBA for the last year. But it was ultimately the one that made the most sense for the next chapter Durant wants to write.
Durant had been linked to the Knicks for most of this past season. For months, Golden State Warriors staffers had operated under the assumption that he was gone this summer. The notion that he would be suiting up at Madison Square Garden next year appeared to be as much of a foregone conclusion in behind-the-scenes league circles as LeBron James' imminent signing with the Los Angeles Lakers was thought to be during the 2017-18 campaign.
In a perfect world, Durant would make historic MSG—the Mecca—home by lifting a franchise from the dead. The Knicks would resurface as the focus of the basketball world, and KD would position himself to earn a championship unlike any he captured in Golden State.
But the devastating ruptured Achilles tendon Durant suffered in Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals changed everything. Any team signing him this summer was now making a move for the 2020-21 season rather than building an instant contender.