As the seconds ticked away on Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals, the pundits were already tweeting and posting that this could be Kevin Durant's last game in a Thunder uniform. The unrestricted free agent seemed frustrated that he couldn't get to the promised land ... again.
The Thunder of course can provide the seven-time All-Star with more money, more years than any other team and it;s the only team he's ever played for. Would the Nets have a chance at him, the 21-win Nets beginning a long rebuild with an inexperienced front office and coaching staff? Unlikely, sure, but the Nets do have solid connections with KD that could get them an interview, a visit. That's all you can ask for.
Take a look...
--His agent is Jay-Z, the former minority owner of the Nets who still has good relations with the franchise;
--His management company is RocNation, Jay-Z's company, which is headed by Michael Yormark, Brett's twin brother;
--His personal trainer, shooting coach and friend -- Adam Harrington -- has just accepted a job with the Nets as director of player development/assistant coach.
--His pastor and spiritual guide, Carl Lentz, has his Hillsong church in Manhattan and lives in Brooklyn.
--His broken foot was repaired last year by Dr. Martin O'Malley, the Nets' foot and ankle specialist at the Hospital for Special Surgery. KD told another one of O'Malley's patients this spring, "Once Doc finishes with you, you’ll be like brand new."
And as Mike Mazzeo reported back in January, playing in New York might have an appeal to Durant, writing...
Other potential enticing factors could include: The New York market and a chance to play home games in a top-flight $1 billion arena; the potential for a prideful player such as Durant to be the top dog in town; and the opportunity to potentially play with more of a pass-first type point guard, whom the Nets would have to acquire via free agency or trade.
Mazzeo wasn't speculating. He had sources.
The most intriguing connection may be Harrington, who the Nets recently hired. In an interview in 2014, Harrington said he travels with Durant two to three weeks a month, including workouts during the season, off the court mentoring, film breakdown and "just doing life together."
Here's what KD wrote last year about his relationship with Harrington...
"Working with Adam this past year has totally transformed my approach to everything on and off the court. Adam’s passion and knowledge was contagious every time we were together. Adam was a big part of my MVP season and I am looking forward to our growing relationship."
Like all the other connections, it can't hurt. For his part, Durant wasn't saying much Monday night about his free agency prospects.
"I mean, we just lost like 30 minutes ago, so I haven't even thought about it," Durant said during his news conference after OKC's 96-88 loss to the Golden State Warriors. "I'm just embracing my teammates and just reflecting on the season. I'll think about that stuff, I don't know when. But we just lost an hour ago, 30 minutes ago, so I don't know."
He'll have to start thinking about it soon. Free agency is only four weeks away. Getting Durant's signature on a contract would be a dream and like most dreams, it's far from reality, but it's hard to imagine with all those connections, Durant doesn't take a meeting make a visit. We shall see.