The Brooklyn Nets made the NBA playoffs in 2018-19 for the first time in four seasons, but the team’s general manager, Sean Marks, made several personnel changes in the offseason to accommodate two of the best players in the league: Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Although the former is expected to be sidelined all season as he recovers from an Achilles injury, the Nets are expected to be competitive once again in 2019-20—FiveThirtyEight gives the team a 57 percent chance of making the playoffs.
The following are five recent trades or signings made by the Nets to improve its roster:
Sign and Trade for Kevin Durant
Despite tearing his Achilles in Game 5 of the NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors and being forced to likely miss the entire 2019-20 season, Durant still earned a four-year, $164 million contract from the Golden State Warriors in a sign-and-trade scenario with the Nets. As part of the deal, Brooklyn sent the Warriors D’Angelo Russell, Shabazz Napier, Treveon Graham, and a traded player exception. Durant, who was rumored to sign with the New York Knicks, announced his decision to join Brooklyn in an Instagram post on June 30.
A 30-year-old native of Washington, DC, Durant is a two-time NBA Champion and two-time NBA Finals MVP. The 10-time All-Star has also led the league in points per game in four separate seasons and was named regular season MVP in 2013-14 after averaging a career-best 32 points to go along with 7.4 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game. He averaged 26 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 5.9 assists per game last season with the Warriors. Although he is unsure if he will play this season, he’s certain he will return to full health in the not-so-distant future:
“I was at a point where mentally and physically, my body and mind had met at the right point and I had reached a level that I never reached before,” he told Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes. “My mind is still there, now my body just has to catch up. Once that does, I’ll be fine.”
The most notable player sent from Brooklyn to Golden State as part of the sign-and-trade was Russell. Originally selected second overall by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2015 NBA Draft, the point guard was an All-Star for the first time this season with the Nets. He averaged a career-high 21.1 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 7 assists per game.
Sign Kyrie Irving
Around the same time the team acquired Durant in a sign-and-trade, Brooklyn announced it had signed free agent point guard Kyrie Irving to a four-year, $136 million contract. While both announcements might have been a shock to Nets fans, Durant and Irving had discussed playing together even before the start of the 2018-19 season. It was just a matter of where they might do so.
A six-time All-Star, Irving was selected first overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2011 NBA Draft. He won the NBA Finals with the team in 2015-16 and was dealt to the Boston Celtics prior to the 2017-18 season. Through 508 career regular-season games, the point guard has averaged 22.2 points, 5.7 assists, and 3.6 rebounds per game. His other career accolades include MVP of the 2013-14 All-Star Game and 2011-12 Rookie of the Year.
Acquire Taurean Prince from Atlanta Hawks
In order to fit both Durant and Irving under the salary cap, the Nets had to make several moves to free up available space. One of those moves was a trade with the Atlanta Hawks that opened nearly $21 million in cap space. Brooklyn dealt Allen Crabbe, the rights to recently drafted Nickeil Alexander-Walker, and a lottery-protected 2020 first-round pick to the Hawks in exchange for Taurean Prince and Atlanta’s second-round pick in the 2021 NBA Draft.
A 27-year-old shooting guard from Los Angeles, California, Crabbe had a career-best year with the Nets in 2017-18, but was limited to only 43 games this past season and averaged 9.6 points per game, his lowest since 2014-15. Prince, meanwhile, is a 25-year-old former first-round pick who averaged 13.5 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game last season.
3-Team Trade with Washington and San Antonio
Another move that freed up cap space for the Nets was a three-team deal that involved the Washington Wizards and the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs received DeMarre Carroll on a two-year, $13 million sign-and-trade, while the Wizards received Davis Bertans from the Spurs. The Nets, meanwhile, received Nemanja Dangubic and Aaron White from the Spurs and Wizards, respectively. Neither is expected to make an impact with the team this season.
Sign DeAndre Jordan
Complementing the major signings of Durant and Irving, the Nets also signed free agent center DeAndre Jordan to a four-year, $39.96 million contract. The one-time All-Star and two-time All-Defensive team member averaged 11 points, 13.1 rebounds, and 2.3 assists last season between the Knicks and Dallas Mavericks. He led the league in rebounds in 2013-14 and 2014-15 as a member of the Los Angeles Clippers.