Report: Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Tobias Harris ‘Will at Least Consider’ Nets

Report: Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Tobias Harris ‘Will at Least Consider’ Nets
Brooklyn Nets' Spencer Dinwiddie (8) defends against Golden State Warriors' Kevin Durant (35) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

Reaching the playoffs for the first time since the 2014-15 campaign may pay dividends for the Brooklyn Nets, as they will reportedly be in play for some of the NBA’s marquee free agents this coming offseason.

On Tuesday, Anthony Puccio of SNY cited sources who said Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard and Tobias Harris are among players who “will at least consider” signing with the Nets.

“Making the playoffs definitely helped their chances,” one source said.

Puccio pointed to a number of connections the Nets have with some of the free-agents-to-be, including one between Caris LeVert and Durant. They are close friends who trained together in 2017, and Durant is potentially interested in playing with the swingman.

Prior to taking over as general manager of the Nets, Sean Marks was an assistant coach with the San Antonio Spurs, where he spent a few years alongside Leonard. He also has “solid rapport” with Leonard’s uncle, according to Puccio. In addition, Nets assistant coach Tiago Splitter played with Leonard, assistant general manager Trajan Langdon was a scout for the Spurs, assistant coach Bret Brielmaier worked with the Spurs and assistant coach Chris Fleming was San Antonio’s summer-league coach in 2014.

Meanwhile, Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson’s brother coached Harris’ youngest brother, per Puccio. Kyrie Irving also grew up as a Nets fan and might be interested in signing with Brooklyn.

Marks has high hopes for his ability to lure a top free agent, per Puccio: 

“The process we went through this year—and there’s a lot of positives that’ve come out of this year—can only help. It’s going to attract free agents. People are going to want to play here. They’re going to want to play for Kenny [Atkinson], they’re going to want to play in Brooklyn, they’re going to play for this ownership group. We have a lot of things going for us.”

Puccio explained Brooklyn can sign two max free agents if it trades Allen Crabbe and renounces D’Angelo Russell and its other impending free agents.

Russell was a major reason the team reached the playoffs this season. The first-time All-Star averaged a career-best 21.1 points and 7.0 assists as the team’s go-to player.

The 23-year-old is also a part of Brooklyn’s enticing young core, although the opportunity to sign someone like Durant or Leonard could cause the team to change directions.

Although the Nets haven’t won a playoff series since the 2013-14 campaign, they are well-positioned to become a contender in the Eastern Conference as soon as this upcoming season.

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