While Kevin Durant has faced charges of being a mercenary out for himself ever since he ended up as the final piece of the superteam Golden State Warriors, new details about his trade to the Brooklyn Nets prove that he has his new team’s best interest at heart. According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, Durant forced the Warriors to give the Nets a first-round pick in the deal. Durant allegedly believed that a straight-up one-for-one trade to the Nets for D’Angelo Russell would be unfair to Brooklyn.
Not that the Nets are struggling. The team is one of several that rocketed itself into contention this offseason by opening their checkbooks and making some savvy deals. The acquisition of both Hall of Famer Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in the off-season has set them up to contend for a title as soon as the injured KD can return to the court. In light of his injury and the uncertainty it casts over his future, Durant downplaying his value when held up against a healthy Russell makes sense. Also, it doesn’t hurt that Russell is only coming into his prime at 23 years old.
In addition, Durant pushed the Warriors to clear some cap space for the Nets, taking on Shabazz Napier and Treveon Graham’s contracts before trading them to the Timberwolves. The pick will help give the Nets some young depth, providing either a late first-rounder or a future second-rounder should next year’s pick fall in the top 20. Given the Warriors recent history, this is highly unlikely. But the league is as wide open as it’s ever been, largely thanks to moves like KD’s.