In a lot of ways, it’s the perfect symbol of anyone who moves to Brooklyn. You show up, tell all your friends back home that you’re now a New York hotshot while struggling along and never really accomplishing anything. And then after a couple or three years you realize it’s just too much of a hassle and life would be much easier somewhere else, and you leave without ever admitting New York was a pain in the ass. That’s most everyone’s Brooklyn experience. It’s now Kevin Durant’s. It’s the Nets’ as a whole.
Of course, Durant has the added feature of realizing he can’t put up with the horseshit of a co-worker, in this case Kyrie Irving. Irving opted back in for the last year of his deal just this week, and it’s funnier for everyone to think that Durant opted out as soon as Irving opted in. The reality is more that Durant knows Irving is only going to stick around for one more season to collect his $37 million, knowing no other team wanted to put up with his doofus ass, and he’ll pick his next destination after the season. Durant knows that Irving isn’t in for the long haul, so why should he be at all?
But Durant has ownership of this as well. This was his LeBron tribute, orchestrating with Kyrie to turn the Nets from a loudmouth ne’er do well that called a lot of attention to itself with nothing to show for it to something tangible. It didn’t work, mostly because they couldn’t get on the court together for more than six minutes per month or whatever it worked out to be.
However, one can’t help but notice that among Durant’s leading preferences for his next place of business…
Hmmm, was the amount of research KD did simply looking at last year’s regular-season standings?
But, we know that Durant has pulled this act before. The first time he was open for wooing, he ended up on the greatest team of all-time, the 73-win Warriors that did that without him. He got a lot of plaudits and confirmation as a true NBA legend and a crunch-time hero for winning games in the Finals that the Dubs would have won without him. So too is his other big accomplishment, a Gold Medal in Tokyo, a bauble that Team USA likely would have found anyway.
Durant tried to create his own power in Brooklyn, it didn’t work, and now he’s going back to the old playbook of just finding one already constructed. He wants the baby without the labor pains, which we all do in some way. Both the Suns and Heat would probably be stripped pretty heavily to acquire Durant, but that’s not his concern at the moment. And if they are, we’ll do all this again in two years.
And to be fair, Durant tried the hero thing the past couple springs. He couldn’t beat the Bucks alone in 2021, though he came awfully close. He couldn’t come anywhere close to beating the Celtics on his own this past spring. And perhaps that’s enough for him. This new road is awfully easier.
But hey, as Homer Simpson told us, “If something is hard to do it’s not worth doing.” Durant tried to make the Nets something truly memorable, even noticeable, for the first time in their history. It didn’t work. So now he’s going back to what he knows, running the last lap of the race. Nice gig if you can get it.
The main takeaway from USC and UCLA bolting for the Big 10 in two years, other than this:
…is that this is just another big leap down the road to college football doing away with the NCAA. We’re getting to a point where the Big 10 and SEC will swallow up just about everything, and then they can just ask, “Why don’t we just have our two champions play one another and that’ll be the national champion?”
All the NCAA does now is just hold events and plan parties, and negotiate contracts for those, so why can’t these two conferences do it for themselves? Make them both 24 teams, and let them negotiate their own deals. It’s what the NCAA deserves.