Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and DeAndre Jordan elected to team up over the summer and sign with the Brooklyn Nets in free agency.
It was a plan three years in the making.
ESPN's Jackie MacMullan revealed how the trio originally discussed joining forces in the NBA while they were teammates with USA Basketball during the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.
"We didn't just get to know each other, we got to know each other's friends," Irving says. "We had daily activities with one another. We started seeking each other out. Talking about everything. Being locked on a boat for a month brings out different parts in a lot of people."
There were endless conversations about basketball, including how LeBron James had orchestrated his own "friend group" in Miami with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh that yielded two titles. One of the final nights on the Silver Cloud, as Ky, KD and DJ clinked glasses, Jordan recalls Irving saying, "Hey, this would be cool to do for real.""I asked him, 'What you mean by that?'" Jordan says, "and Ky said, 'Let's all get on the same team and play together.'"
"The brotherhood was real," Irving says, "but circumstances kept us apart."
"There were times when you had to wonder, 'Is this ever going to really happen?"' Jordan says. In the summer of 2019, with all three players set to be free agents, they connected again. "We all agreed," Jordan says, "'We gotta do this.'"
Message to Warriors fans -- this doesn't mean that KD already was plotting his next move just weeks after he signed with Golden State.
This sounds like a situation where friends were having some drinks together and an idea was hatched. Sure, it ultimately came to fruition, but you can never say Durant coming to the conclusion he was going to leave in free agency is why the Warriors fell short of the three-peat.
KD rupturing his Achilles, and Klay Thompson injuring his hamstring and tearing his ACL, and DeMarcus Cousins tearing his quad, and Kevon Looney fracturing his costal cartilage (and the Raptors being really good) is why Golden State didn't win the championship last season.
You might think KD is crazy for leaving the Warriors, but he had his reasons and that's all that matters. If you're bitter, maybe this will make you feel better.
"Obviously leaving Golden State, I'm not expecting anything better than that," the two-time NBA Finals MVP told MacMullan. "I see this situation as, 'All right, I'm coming to a young organization that has championship aspirations but doesn't quite know what that feels like.'"
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