Report: Nets add vets as if Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving will stay

Alder Almo
Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JANUARY 10: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) Kyrie Irving #11 (L) and Kevin Durant #7 of the Brooklyn Nets during a game against the Miami Heat at Barclays Center on January 10, 2020 in New York City. The Nets defeated the Heat 117-113. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

It’s going to be a long summer in Brooklyn.

The Nets’ endgame has already been predetermined — a life without Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. But until the hefty price tag is met, the Nets have been adding players as if their two superstars will spearhead another championship window.

On Tuesday, the Nets signed two veterans viewed as depth pieces for a contending team.

The Nets have signed forward TJ Warren and guard Edmond Sumner to a one-year deal each, per multiple reports. Both players are fully recovered from devastating injuries that kept them out last season.

Warren was on a tear as a dynamic scorer before he missed most of the past two seasons with a stress fracture in his left foot.

Pre-injury, Warren was on the cusp of a breakthrough in the league after getting traded from Phoenix to Indiana. He averaged 19.8 points per game on an efficient 53 percent shooting.

Warren was a revelation in the Orlando bubble in 2020 after posting 31 points on 58 percent shooting, including a scorching 52 percent from deep, in six games. He continued his rampage in Indiana’s first-round playoff loss to the Miami Heat, averaging 20.0 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists.

Meanwhile, Sumner also played for the Pacers. Like Warren, Sumner was coming off a breakout season — averaging a career-high 7.5 points in 53 games in the 2020-21 season — when he tore his left Achilles that kept him on the sideline for the entire 2021-22 season.

Both signings could potentially boost a supporting cast around Durant, Irving and Ben Simmons if the Nets could not find the right return package for their superstar duo.

“On the other hand, the Nets, they picked up T.J. Warren today. They’re making moves and they’re doing things this offseason in their mind the preparation and operation as if they’re bringing these two guys back next season and playing with these two guys,” The Athletic’s top NBA insider Shams Charania said on the Pat McAffee show.

“I think they’re open in dialogue and open to teams like Toronto, Miami, Phoenix, making offers, but until they get that price threshold met, which I’m told is All-Star-type players, a boatload of draft picks. This is what they’re telling teams, ‘We’re not going to move Kevin Durant until the price is met.’ So, we’ll see how this summer goes.”

On Irving’s side, Charania added that there’s no traction in the reported potential trade with the Los Angeles Lakers involving Russell Westbrook.

And if the Nets find the right trade partners, Warren and Sumner could likely step up and slide in Durant and Irving’s roles in what could probably go down as redemption season for both veterans.

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