The possibility of a summer return for the NBA season has led to speculation that injured superstar Kevin Durant could rejoin the Brooklyn Nets in time for their postseason push. But Durant’s longtime business partner Rich Kleiman tamped down expectations for the former MVP on Monday morning, telling Golic & Wingo that hopes of Durant playing in June or July are “not very realistic.” “Honestly, not very realistic from my standpoint, and not even spoken about,” Kleiman said.
Though Nets GM Sean Marks refused to rule Durant out for the season, the feeling within the league is trending toward him potentially playing this season. “I know KD is taking the rehab process ultra-serious. He wants to come back as soon as it’s appropriate, and healthy and the right decision for him, and then also subsequently that would also be the right decision for,” said Dinwiddie, who points out that even a slightly-diminished Durant could still be a superstar.
Durant’s familiarity and comfort level with the Nets medical staff was a major determining factor in him ultimately signing a deal to come to Brooklyn. While most critics are scoffing at the thought of Durant seeing the hardwood this upcoming season, according to Weinfeld, Durant’s chances are exceedingly better than that of injured Wizards star John Wall’s. “A point guard plays a different kind of game than Kevin Durant does,” noted Dr. Weinfeld. “An explosive type athlete, his demand is different than that of Kevin Durant’s. You talk about odds of coming back to where he was, I think Durant’s odds are better than an athlete like John Wall whose whole game is quickness and explosiveness. He [Wall] counts much more on those muscles being exactly where they need to be as opposed to a player like Durant and his style.
Marks, though, refused to speculate about when Durant could potentially return to the court. “He will be evaluated with the performance team and so forth,” Marks said. “I think a timeline will be given in due time, but as of now, we’re certainly not going to comment on when or if and make any sort of hypotheticals. It’s too early.” Both Nets leaders were also asked about the process of integrating Irving — who is coming off a tumultuous season in Boston — into the mix in Brooklyn.
Second, did this mark the end of the Warriors’ dynasty? Not only do the Warriors have questions about Thompson. Kevin Durant is recovering from a surgically repaired right Achilles tendon. The Warriors otherwise have limited purchasing power and a No. 28 pick to bolster their team. Nonetheless, Thompson said that “Klay and Kevin will both be back to wreak havoc among the league.” Thompson also added “the Warriors are far from done.” As for Durant’s free agency? “I always have faith he’ll stay. This is the second-best organization you can play for. Of course, you know what the best one is,” said Thompson who played for the Showtime Lakers and remains a radio analyst for the team’s flagship station. “Why leave a great situation like Golden State? These guys are still going to be championship contenders for years to come.”
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Around the league, front-office executives say they expect that Hayward will opt-in. “It’s too much money to pass up,” one general manager told Heavy.com. “He could get a longer deal if that is what he really wants. But I don’t think the Celtics want to give it to him, they have a lot of young guys to pay and the starting (salary) number on whatever the contract is will not be close to $34 million. He can opt in this year and then take a big contract next year. When you look at what he has done since his injury, he has only gotten better. He could get better next year and be ready for the summer of 2021.”
The longtime NBA announcer and analyst joined her ESPN colleague Adrian Wojnarowski on his podcast, The Woj Pod, to share her journey, from symptoms to recovery, as the new coronavirus pandemic continues to spread across the United States and the rest of the world. “I cannot begin to express to you the feeling of gratitude that I have for health,” she told Wojnarowski. “And I just want people to know, it’s important to social distance and to continue to function with all good practices of hand washing, wiping down surfaces, whatever your trusted medical professionals are telling you, please, please follow those.”