Fresh off earning gold for Team USA at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, Kevin Durant is seeing a lot more green stateside.
The Nets on Sundayfor the 11-time NBA All-Star, two-time Finals MVP and 2014 NBA MVP. The release did not mention specifics, though reports the extension is worth $198 million over four years. Durant reportedly declined his 2022-23 player option and extended his contract off his current $42 million annual salary.
Durant, who moved to Brooklyn in a sign-and-trade deal between the Nets and Warriors in 2019, was excellent in his return to play in 2020-21 after missing the entirety of the previous season with a torn Achilles. He averaged 26.9 points, 7.1 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game while shooting a career-high 45 percent in 3-point attempts.
Durant was even better in his first playoff stint for the Nets, averaging 34.3 points on 51.4 field goal percentage, 9.3 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game. Brooklyn fell out of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the eventual NBA Finals champion Bucks, though Durant certainly did his part to keep alive Brooklyn’s dreams of an NBA Finals championship: He played all 53 minutes in the Game 7 overtime loss to Milwaukee, scoring 48 points, nabbing nine rebounds and dishing six assists in the loss. He very nearly ended the game in regulation in the final second, but stepped on the 3-point line, making his shot good for only 2 and sending the game to overtime tied at 109.
Durant was, helping them overcome an early upset by France to earn his third Olympic gold medal and help the team reach its fourth straight. In so doing, he passed Carmelo Anthony as Team USA’s all-time leading scorer, with 435 points.
“Kevin is a transcendent talent who continues to drive and push this franchise and the game of basketball globally,” Nets general manager Sean Marks said in a statement. “We are thrilled to continue our partnership with him for years to come. Kevin’s impact both on and off the court cannot be overstated. His unparalleled drive and leadership generate sustained excellence from himself while also elevating the performance of his teammates, positioning this organization to continue the pursuit of our championship goals in Brooklyn.”
The Nets will continue their bid for their first NBA championship with Durant front and center; the other components of Brooklyn’s “Big Three” — Kyrie Irving and James Harden — are also available for contract extensions this offseason.