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Waiting for next season to play with Nets, Kevin Durant invests in Major League Soccer

June 12, 2020 John Torenli
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Kevin Durant won’t be playing for the Brooklyn Nets when they return to play later this summer, but the former NBA Most Valuable Player remains very active in the sporting world.

Durant purchased a minority stake of Major League Soccer’s Philadelphia Union last week, according to a report in Sports Business Daily.

After signing here with Brooklyn last summer for a whopping $164 million over four years, Durant has been unable to play a single regular-season game for the Nets due to an Achilles injury suffered during the 2019 NBA Finals as a member of the Golden State Warriors.

There had been rumblings during the past several months as the NBA’s COVID-19 shutdown continued that Durant, who contracted and has since been cleared of the potentially deadly virus, could make a return to the hardwood if and when the Nets restarted their campaign.

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However, Durant and Nets management quelled that notion earlier this week when they officially announced that the two-time Finals MVP would sit out the remainder of this year in the hopes of being fully healthy and ready to go for the 2020-21 campaign.

“My season is over,” Durant emphasized in an interview with The Athletic earlier this week.

“I don’t plan on playing at all. We decided last summer when [the injury] first happened that I was just going to wait until the following season. I had no plans of playing at all this season.”

Though he won’t be playing, Durant has emerged as a player on the domestic soccer scene.

He joins fellow NBA superstars LeBron James (Liverpool/English Premier League) and James Harden (Houston Dynamo/MLS) in owning a share of a professional soccer club, be it stateside or abroad.

The Philadelphia Union will have minority owner Kevin Durant on their side going forward, as the two-time NBA champion purchased a reported one to five percent stake in the franchise. Photo: Chris Szagola/AP

Durant had made two previous attempts to buy into D.C. United of the MLS, but finally reached an agreement to purchase between one to five percent of the Union after his Thirty Five Ventures investment company met with team officials last year.

The two-time NBA champion has also intimated that he won’t be down in Orlando, Florida, the site of the league’s Return to Play Plan, to root on his Brooklyn teammates as they play the final eight games of their interrupted regular season before the playoffs.

The Nets (30-34) are currently seeded seventh in the Eastern Conference playoff race, but may be forced to participate in a two-game play-in series with the No. 9 seed if they drop into eighth place and are four games or fewer ahead of their nearest competitor.

They will enter the NBA’s single-site, fan-free finish to this season six games ahead of the ninth-seeded Washington Wizards.

Brooklyn is looking to reach the postseason for a second straight season after bowing out to the Philadelphia 76ers in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals last year.

The Nets also won’t have Kyrie Irving in Orlando as Durant’s high-priced sidekick had season-ending surgery in March and was officially ruled out of returning to action for the NBA’s tentative restart date of July 31.

Irving, however, has let it be known that he will be in Orlando to root his Nets teammates on as they pursue their first postseason series win since surviving an epic seven-game series with the Toronto Raptors in 2014.

Durant won’t be there, but he will be focused on contributing to the Nets’ push toward their first-ever NBA title when he finally deems himself ready to return.

“I was putting pressure on myself in previous injuries, wanting to hurry up and come back. I saw my teammates having fun and wanted to be out there,” he said of the rehab process.

“This time, I felt like I was more patient throughout the process mentally and not rushing myself mentally, not get too excited when my team plays well or I have a good [rehab] day. I’m taking things second by second, and I’m trying to look out for what is best long term.”

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