The Nets aren’t hiding their optimism about Kevin Durant with the new season just weeks away, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Durant has been out of action since suffering a ruptured Achilles tendon during the 2019 NBA Finals, but his recent workouts have players and management believing he can return to an MVP level.
“I don’t think anybody is more excited than Kevin himself to get back on the court. He’s mentioned numerous times he can’t wait to be back, in Barclays, wearing the Nets jersey and being out there,” general manager Sean Marks said in an interview Thursday on the YES Network . “As it pertains to how those guys look, what we’ve seen — they’ve been back in our gym now a couple days — the feedback from the performance team on how they’ve looked is they look terrific. It’s been remarkable to watch Kevin’s development and the way he’s attacked his rehabilitation over the course of the last year. We’re all champing at the bit and excited to see him out there.”
Players who participated in pickup games with Durant during the past month in Los Angeles also had glowing reports, with Jarrett Allen telling Basketball News, “I’ll just keep it short and simple: KD is back again.”
There’s more this morning from Brooklyn:
- Marks isn’t addressing questions about James Harden, who reportedly asked the Rockets to trade him to the Nets to reunite with Durant, Lewis tweets. Marks is limited in what he can say about a potential deal because of tampering rules. “All you can do is prepare yourself to put the best possible roster forward,” Marks said. “…We just have to be flexible for everything that happens, and put the best roster forward.”
- Re-signing Joe Harris will be the team’s top priority when free agency officially kicks off this afternoon, Lewis notes in a separate story. One of the league’s top three-point shooters, Harris is reportedly eager for the chance to play alongside Durant and Kyrie Irving. “Those are guys I’ve gotten close with now that I’ve been with them this past year,” Harris said. “They’re obviously incredible players. You see what they’re able to do when they are healthy and playing. I don’t think there’s anybody in the NBA who wouldn’t want to play with those guys.”
- Durant has been recruiting Serge Ibaka, his former teammate in Oklahoma City, but the Nets may not be able to afford him, Lewis adds. Brooklyn is limited to the taxpayer exception of $5.7MM, while several other teams interested in Ibaka can offer the full MLE of $9.3MM.