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Volume 26 No. 62
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Nets Make Biggest Splash In Free Agency, Sign Durant, Irving

With Durant and Irving on board, the Nets are now seen as the top draw in N.Y.
Photo: NBAE/GETTY IMAGES

Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant have "teamed to bring relevance to one of the league's lesser lights" by signing with the Nets on the first day of NBA free agency, and "never has an NBA team so transformed itself within the span of a few minutes," according to Dan Wolken of USA TODAY (7/1). In N.Y., Cacciola & Stein write this was the "splashiest combination of moves" the Nets could have made after "spending years digging out from the depths of ill-advised personnel moves and searching for a slice of the spotlight in a city long dominated by the Knicks" (N.Y. TIMES, 7/1). ESPN's Trey Wingo said, "As much it's about what the Nets did, it's also about the Knicks failure here." ESPN's Mike Golic said it "shows you the different trajectory of the two franchises in the same area" ("Golic & Wingo," ESPN Radio, 7/1). CBS Sports Radio's Boomer Esiason said it is a "big, ginormous embarrassment to the Knicks that this happened" ("Boomer & Gio," CBS Sports Radio, 7/1). In New Jersey, Chris Iseman writes for the Nets, yesterday "marked one of the biggest days in their history" (Bergen RECORD, 7/1).

RETURN TO RELEVANCE: ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski said the Nets are "one of the great reclamation projects we've seen in the NBA in the modern era." Wojnarowski: "All of a sudden the Nets are the team in New York right now." ESPN's John Buccigross noted Barclays Center is "not a huge arena (but) that will change. It will be a hot ticket in Brooklyn" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 7/1). ESPN.com's Zach Lowe writes regardless of "what comes next, this is a historic day for the Nets." This is the "transformational point of one of the most stunning reconstruction projects in recent sports history" (ESPN.com, 7/1). The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Ben Cohen writes it was a "coup for the Nets to be in this position" to sign Durant and Irving, "given their own history of mismanagement" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 7/1). NBCSPORTS.com's Tom Haberstroh wrote this was a "stunning recovery" by the Nets after "finishing with the NBA's worst record as recently" as the '16-17 season. Haberstroh: "Must be nice to be in the NBA's largest market" (NBCSPORTS.com, 6/30). In DC, Ben Golliver writes these are the "same Nets who ranked last in home attendance" in '18-19 (WASHINGTON POST, 7/1). In New Jersey, Sherlon Christie asks, "Is Brooklyn now the center of the NBA universe?" (ASBURY PARK PRESS, 7/1).

A MAN WITH A PLAN: In N.Y., Mike Vaccaro writes it is "important to remember today what the Nets were like yesterday." The "profound wasteland" that Nets GM Sean Marks inherited when he took over three years ago "must serve as a reminder that a smart GM and a smart plan can trump a whole acre of impediments" (N.Y. POST, 7/1). SI.com's Rohan Nadkarni wrote this was a "remarkable accomplishment that Marks even put the Nets in a position to be a landing spot for superstars given what he had to start with" (SI.com, 6/30). SI.com's Chris Mannix wondered "who thought this was possible three years ago," when Marks was "plucked from the back bench in San Antonio to take over the NBA's Titanic?" (SI.com, 6/30).