The Brooklyn Nets officially added forward Kevin Durant on Sunday, announcing his arrival as part of a sign-and-trade deal with the Golden State Warriors a week after the 10-time All-Star announced his intentions to join Brooklyn.
“Kevin is a champion, perennial All-Star and one of the great players of this, or any, generation,” general manager Sean Marks said in a statement. “Adding a player of Kevin’s caliber to our organization elevates our ability to compete with the elite teams in this league. His tremendous abilities and dedication to his craft have made him as talented an offensive player our game has ever seen and we, as well as all of Brooklyn, are thrilled to welcome Kevin and his family to the Nets.”
Changing teams won’t be new for Durant, after he left the Oklahoma City Thunder for the Warriors three summers ago, but he will be wearing a new number for the first time since entering the NBA: No. 7.
Durant tweeted a photo Sunday evening on social media of a Nets No. 7 jersey hanging in a locker. He added a statement from his business, Thirty Five Ventures, explaining the decision to change numbers, reading:
“35 took my family and me from Seat Pleasant, MD and showed us the world. 35 allowed me to meet people that I never would’ve had the chance to meet, experience things I would never have had the chance to experience, and achieve things that I never would have been able to achieve. 35 allowed me to go to the University of Texas to play basketball, 35 allowed me to achieve my dream of playing in the NBA in Seattle. 35 allowed me to play basketball in Oklahoma City and form bonds and friendships that will last a lifetime. Lastly, 35 allowed me to go to the Bay Area and win two championships and form brotherhoods that no time or distance will ever break.
“35 was chosen in honor of someone very near and dear to me. I will always honor him and honor the number 35. But as I start this new chapter in my basketball life, the number I’ll be wearing on my back is the number 7 next time you see me on the floor. One time Brooklyn.”
Durant has worn No. 35 since he was 16, first donning it to represent the age of one of his youth coaches who was shot and killed in Maryland, according to a New York Times feature published in 2017.
The Warriors last week announced they will retire Durant’s No. 35. The Thunder have given out the No. 35 since Durant left, but the expectation is they will retire it in the future.
Durant, who turns 31 in September, is expected to miss the entire 2019-20 season because of the ruptured Achilles he suffered in Game 5 of the NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors.
The former MVP averaged 26 points, 6.4 rebounds and 5.9 assists in 78 games for the Warriors last season. He has career averages of 27 points, 7.1 rebounds and 4.1 assists in 849 games.
—Field Level Media