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The devastating Achilles tear that knocked Kevin Durant out of the NBA Finals has not hurt his bank account.
The 10-time All-Star and two-time Finals MVP is planning to agree to a four-year, $164 million deal with the Brooklyn Nets, Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes reported.
Durant later confirmed the news via The Boardroom’s account on Instagram:
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Irving and Durant both agreed to less-than max deals to allow the Nets salary cap space to sign Jordan to a four-year, $40 million deal, according to ESPN.
The New York Knicks were reportedly in the running to sign Durant, but owner James Dolan reportedly wasn’t prepared to offer him a max deal after the 10-time All-Star suffered an Achilles tear in the Golden State Warriors’ NBA Finals loss to the Toronto Raptors.
Risky signing after Achilles tear
Once considered the prize catch of the free-agent market, Durant now carries a significant amount of risk after suffering his Achilles injury at 30 years old.
Achilles tears are notoriously difficult for basketball players to recover from, consistently leaving their victims as lesser versions of themselves when they return to the court. That Durant may not see the court again until he’s 32 makes his situation even more precarious.
But Durant’s talent and athleticism are so transcendent that he’s worth the long-term risk despite the red flags.
Two-time NBA Finals MVP
Durant led the Warriors to back-to-back NBA championships in 2017-18, earning Finals MVP honors amid a star-studded roster that included Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.
Last season, he averaged 26 points, 6.4 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 1.1 blocks while shooting 52.1 percent from the field and 35.9 percent from 3-point distance. He did so with a reduced usage rate playing alongside multiple All-Stars.
The hope now is that even a diminished Durant can make the kind of difference that will lead to competing for championships.
The first year of Durant’s deal is strictly an investment in those long-term hopes as the most optimistic prognoses have him sidelined for most of an entire year. If he does return for a potential playoff run, expectations of his performance will be severely tempered.
It’s not likely we’ll see what Durant will truly look like on the other end of an Achilles tear until the start of the 2020-21 season. Nobody expects him to be his former self when he does return.
But if he’s 80 percent of the Durant we saw prior to his playoff injuries this season, he’ll likely have been worth the risk.
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