Winners: Brooklyn Nets
After years spent cowering in the shadows of their flashier New York counterparts, the Brooklyn Nets stand here today basking in the glory of one of the greatest free agent coups in NBA history, having successfully lured Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant to the other team in the Big Apple.
These two had been linked together all season long, and now the pairing has finally come to fruition on a team that had done its best in recent years to build a culture and environment that would entice the cream of a free agent crop.
Not only did the Nets manage to sign two of the best players in the game today, but they also indirectly stole them away from their crosstown rival New York Knicks, a team in a similar pursuit of top-flight talent. While the orange and blue now slowly rebuild their roster, Brooklyn has the chance to compete for a championship by the 2020-21 season.
There is, of course, the caveat regarding Durant’s eventual return from his Achilles tear. He’ll be 32 by then, coming off what is still the worst injury in sports. Having a talent like Kyrie by KD’s side will certainly help to ease his return back to the court. Should the former two-time Finals MVP regain even 80 percent of his former talent, it will vault the Nets into contender status.
Those two weren’t the only ones brought to Brooklyn on Sunday evening. Garrett Temple signed for two years and $10 million. A career 35.3 percent outside shooter, the vet is sure to bring two-way toughness to help fill out the roster.
One of the more questionable signings also managed to emanate from Brooklyn in the form of a four-year, $40 million deal for DeAndre Jordan. Both Kyrie and KD took pay cuts to make it happen, but it’s a move that doesn’t make much sense with blossoming 21-year-old center Jarrett Allen already in the fold and the dying necessity of players like DJ.
Whatever nits there may be to pick for the Nets pale in comparison to the ultimate prize of two of the top free agents on the market. They’ve finally made their mark on the NBA landscape with their eyes firmly set on a title. Whatever the future may hold, it’s important to note that in the present, the newest super-team resides in the borough of Brooklyn.