One of the biggest surprises of free agency and the Nets “clean sweep” was the double sign-and-trade that officially brought Kevin Durant —and a top-20 protected first rounder next June — to Brooklyn and sent D’Angelo Russell to Golden State.
At Warriors Media Day Monday, Golden State GM Bob Myers elaborated on how it all came together, talking with the Bay Area’s 95.7 The Game. Once KD made it known he was headed to Brooklyn, things happened fast. Myers wanted something out of losing one of the game’s great players. Russell was his target.
“So for that to happen, obviously one thing, Kevin has to leave. Two, you got to get Brooklyn to cooperate and Kevin to cooperate in a four-hour window of time. You need D’Angelo to say, ‘Yeah, I’ll come.” He had other offers. A lot of times that’s like a three-team trade, they just don’t happen.
”Somebody in that equation goes, ‘I don’t want to deal with this.’ Because no one really had to -- well, Brooklyn didn’t have to do it and Kevin didn’t have to do it. So when you have a situation like that and you are trying to hold all these things up, it’s very easy for somebody to say, ‘I’m tired of this, why would I do this?’
“The hardest part, to be honest, was [Russell] wanting to come. Not knowing that. For his situation, once Kyrie and Kevin said they were going there, he knew that his days there were done. So he was probably looking around the league, for him to say, ‘I want to go play there.’ That’s flattering for our organization.”
So how did the Warriors get the Nets and KD to agree? The story, as related by Myers, didn’t end there, as ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported back in July. Durant demanded Golden State include the first rounder in the sign-and-trade.
Golden State had to include a first-round pick before Durant would agree to sign off. The Warriors begrudgingly gave it up and did so with a heavy condition: If the pick falls within the top 20 next year, they don’t have to send it, and instead will only give Brooklyn a second-round pick ... in six years. It’s one of the most unusual pick protections the NBA has seen recently.
And that’s not all. The Nets, knowing they had Durant’s support and needing a certain configuration to maximize the cap space, played hardball with Golden State.
[T]he Nets requested that the Warriors take on two players, Shabazz Napier and Treveon Graham, to help clear extra space to sign DeAndre Jordan, who is friends with Durant and new teammate Kyrie Irving. Golden State had to turn around and pay Minnesota $3.6 million to take Napier and Graham off its books.
By doing the deal that way, the Nets also freed up space so they could sign second rounder Nicolas Claxton to a three-year, $4.2 million deal, all of it guaranteed. He will be a restricted free agent in 2022. If the overall deal hadn’t been constructed in that manner, Claxton would have had to settle for a two-year minimum deal worth about half what he got.
One other note about that (glorious) weekend that got lost in the Nets Media Day interviews. Kyrie Irving made it clear that the Nets addition of Garrett Temple was part of the KD-Kyrie overall plan. Irving said he recruited Temple, who had played for the Grizzlies and Clippers last season. In fact, Woj tweeted out that the Nets had signed Temple to the $10 million room exception a little more than an hour after reporting on the signings of KD, Kyrie and DeAndre Jordan.
- Kevin Durant is already making his presence felt with Nets - Howie Kussoy - New York Post