Kevin Durant will be a member of the Brooklyn Nets for the foreseeable future as the All-Star forward signed a contract extension, the team announced Sunday. The deal is for four years and worth $198 million, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. Durant is expected to decline his player option for the 2022-23 season, so his new extension will start after the upcoming 2021-22 NBA campaign.
"We know who he is. Kevin Durant will establish his legacy in Brooklyn as one of the greatest ever," Brooklyn Nets Governor Joe Tsai said in a statement. "On behalf of the Nets organization, my family and our fans, we are excited and humbled to see a lot of Kevin for years to come."
General manager Sean Marks added: "Kevin is a transcendent talent who continues to drive and push this franchise and the game of basketball globally. We are thrilled to continue our partnership with him for years to come. Kevin's impact both on and off the court cannot be overstated. His unparalleled drive and leadership generate sustained excellence from himself while also elevating the performance of his teammates, positioning this organization to continue the pursuit of our championship goals in Brooklyn."
Durant, 32, is coming off of a stellar season for the Nets in which he averaged 26.9 points, 7.1 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 1.3 blocks per game. However, due to a hamstring injury and COVID-19 protocol placement, he was limited to just 35 regular season appearances. It was his first season playing for the Nets after he missed the entirety of the previous campaign due to an Achilles injury that he suffered during the 2019 NBA Finals. Durant upped his production in the postseason, as he averaged 34.3 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. Despite his impressive play though, Brooklyn ultimately fell to the Milwaukee Bucks in seven games in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Here's a look at a breakdown of Durant's extension, via Bobby Marks of ESPN:
In addition to Durant, star guards James Harden and Kyrie Irving will also both be eligible to sign extensions with the Nets over the offseason, as they both have player options for the 2022-23 season that they could turn down in favor of unrestricted free agency next summer. Though it remains to be seen what they will do, it sure sounds like Durant expects them to follow suit.
"First of all, you enjoy playing the game. That's the most important thing and I think we all three enjoy playing with each other," Durant said recently when asked about the future of Brooklyn's big three. "That's a personal thing and guys are different. I'm sure when that time is right, we'll all make the right decision for ourselves.
"Just being in a great environment and being around teammates that enjoy the game. Keep growing individually. That's the most important thing; how we growing individually. Definitely how we come together as a team. I enjoy seeing my teammates get better. I enjoy getting better and have an environment that encourages that single every day."
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As long as Durant, Harden and Irving are all healthy, the Nets will likely enter next season as the favorites to come out of the Eastern Conference.