By Joe Pantorno
The speculation surrounding Brooklyn Nets superstar Kevin Durant’s potential return has now been put to rest.
On his podcast, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Durant will be held out for the remainder of the 2019-20 season once basketball returns.
“Kevin Durant’s not coming back to the Nets this year,” Wojnarowski said. “That’s not happening… They’re not playing him.”
The 31-year-old face of the league has not appeared in an NBA game since Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals when he ruptured his Achilles tendon while with the Golden State Warriors.
It was poor timing for Durant, who was set for a big payday in free agency. But the Nets still obliged, inking him to a four-year, $164.2 million deal and teaming him up with fellow All-Star and new signing, Kyrie Irving, despite knowing that he likely would not suit up for them in his first year.
The first year of the Durant, Irving experiment couldn’t have gone much worse for the Nets, though. While Durant’s absence was expected, Irving was hampered by injuries for much of the year, ending with shoulder surgery in February. He appeared in just 20 games.
There was still hope for Durant to make an abbreviated return toward the end of a regularly-scheduled NBA season when he returned to the gym and began running and shooting in February.
Hope that he would make his Nets debut only grew when the NBA was forced to indefinitely postpone play on March 11 due to the COVID-19 pandemic — a virus that Durant himself battled back in March.
A summer return, though, would have potentially given him more time to heal and acclimate to the full speed of NBA play.
Nets general manager Sean Marks only added fuel to that fire when he told New Zealand’s NewsHub on May 2 that Durant’s return this year was the “$110 million question.”
Consider that question answered.
This story first appeared on amNY.com