Kevin Durant has always seemed to have no better than a coin flip chance to play this coming season, but the current buzz says he will suit up for the Nets during his first season with the team.
Even with a ruptured Achilles’ during the playoffs in June that will sideline him for at least most of the coming season, the Brooklyn Nets happily signed Kevin Durant to pair him with Kyrie Irving this offseason. The recovery timetable for Durant’s injury can vary some, from eight or nine months to a year, but Brian Lewis of the New York Post has passed along growing talk around the NBA that the four-time scoring champion will play this season.
Back in July, on the heels of the signing, Nets’ general manager Sean Marks was non-committal regarding Durant’s status for the 2019-20 season. That’s to be expected, since ruling him out completely or declaring he would return at a specific time is foolish at almost any point.
As mentioned by Lewis, win total projections for the Nets this coming season are not particularly kind. Westgate Sportsbook in Vegas has them at 44 wins, while FiveThirtyEight has projected them to finish 38-44. An active offseason, with DeAndre Jordan coming aboard along with Irving and Durant, brings questions about how quickly the Nets will become a cohesive unit. Durant’s return to action, say in March, would add to those questions beyond what he’d be able to do physically.
Durant pushed himself to return from a calf injury during last year’s playoffs, only to suffer his Achilles’ injury in his first game back. So he’ll certainly want to push himself to get back on the court as soon as possible in his first season with the Nets, but team doctors should be the ultimate and overriding voice of reason.
But if the Nets get Durant back in any capacity in time for a late regular season push, they would be a very dangerous team in the Eastern Conference come playoff time. There’s a long way to go, but the trend is moving positively in that regard.