NBA Insider: Nets "Got Robin Before Batman"

Kyrie Irving was sold on the Nets; he just had to convince Kevin Durant to come to Brooklyn

After Hours With Amy Lawrence
July 02, 2019 - 9:51 am
Kyrie Irving Kevin Durant

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Prior to Sunday, the Nets’ biggest free-agent signing may have been the late Armen Gilliam in 1993. 

“That’s really somebody you’ve never heard of,” SB Nation Nets insider Anthony Puccio said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence.

Then Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving happened – and it wasn’t an accident.

“They’ve built a culture, they’ve built an infrastructure, players started seeing what was going on in Brooklyn, and they were interested,” Puccio said. “Now here we are. We’re talking about Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving coming to Brooklyn.”

Irving, who grew up in New Jersey, had been interested in the Nets for a while.

“He saw the culture; he saw the core,” Puccio said. “The Nets are on the rise this past season, winning 42 games and making the playoffs. Kyrie also grew up a Nets fan and he wanted to come back home. He liked what they had. He was eying them early. When Boston kind of was in shambles and things started getting ugly over there, he had Brooklyn on his radar. It was really a matter of convincing Kevin Durant.”

That didn’t take much convincing, especially given how close they are with one another.

“They’ve wanted to play together for so long now,” Puccio said. “They’re best friends off the court, and they feel like their best fit going forward for their futures is playing together. Brooklyn basically had everything they needed.”

Including a top-notch medical staff. In fact, team physician Dr. Martin O’Malley has performed multiple surgeries on Durant, including surgery to repair his torn Achilles.

“There were a lot of links with the Nets,” Puccio said. “The kicker was convincing Kyrie first: it’s kind of like getting Robin before Batman – and then getting Batman to join him.”

DeAndre Jordan, 30, also signed with the Nets. He averaged 10.9 points and 11.4 rebounds for the Knicks last season.

“(He’s a) good friend of Kevin Durant, and the Nets needed a big man with Jarrett Allen in the front court,” Puccio said. “They got manhandled in that area this season, so it all just kind of came to fruition that way. DeAndre Jordan and those guys, they just wanted to form the next super team.”

Click below to listen to Puccio’s interview in its entirety.