The Brooklyn Nets had the biggest summer of any team in the Eastern Conference and likely in the entire league outside of the Clippers. Last year’s pleasant surprise in the East became a soon-to-be contender for the Finals by bringing in Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant.
The Nets managed to accomplish what many had initially thought the Knicks might be able to do, and once Durant is fully healthy in 2020, the expectation is for them to join the Bucks and Sixers at the top of the Eastern Conference. Much has been made about how the Nets managed to do what the Knicks couldn’t, and how their success last year helped cement the idea of joining forces there for Irving and KD.
Free agency decisions aren’t made in a day or week, but are part of a much longer process, even if players insist they aren’t thinking about it during the season. Durant and Irving both deflected free agency questions during the year, as most players do, insisting the full focus was on the task at hand in Golden State and Boston respectively. Anyone that fully believed that should also look into beachfront property in Kansas, but the extent to which background was done by those players — or, at the least Kyrie — may surprise those that even expected them to be surveying their options.
As Spencer Dinwiddie told Shams Charania on The Athletic, he first talked about free agency — in very broad terms — back in December with Irving, and recognized then it was a very real possibility he’d come to New York, although Dinwiddie at first expected it to be the Knicks.
Dinwiddie also explains how he sold the culture and system in Brooklyn to Kyrie, noting how the Nets take care of players on and off the court with time off and are cognizant of family time and responsibilities. It’s an interesting look into the dynamic of how friends within the league talk to each other and, if the opportunity presents itself, try to nudge their friends to consider joining them in free agency.
Kyrie obviously bought in to what the Nets are doing and was able to get Durant on board as well. How much of that was Dinwiddie’s doing, we’ll never really know, but he certainly did his part in selling what Brooklyn was capable of and what it could be like.