Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks isn't ruling out Kevin Durant's return if the NBA season should resume.
Play has been suspended since March 11 due to the coronavirus pandemic and that has given Durant nearly two extra months of recuperating time in his recovery from last June's ruptured right Achilles tendon.
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Durant suffered the serious injury during Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals as a member of the Golden State Warriors. He signed with the Nets as a free agent in July.
So with Durant's recuperation period closing in on 11 months and a possible resumption date still weeks away, the question of a return this season is at least becoming a plausible scenario.
"That's a $110 million question," Marks told Newshub of New Zealand. "In all seriousness, we've tried not to talk about his timeline a lot.
"He knows his body better than anybody. Our performance team and training staff have done a tremendous job getting him to this point, but I just don't know how coming out of this pandemic will affect anybody, let alone Kevin.
"When you've got enough invested in a player like Kevin, we're never going to push him to come back. When the timing is right, he'll be 100 percent when he gets on the court.
"I can tell you this though - before the pandemic, he looked like Kevin Durant and that's a good thing."
Durant’s monster deal
Durant signed a four-year, $164 million contract to help bolster the Nets, who are aiming to be a top-flight Eastern Conference contender.
Prior to the season, Durant expressed to the club's fans not to expect to see him on the court this season.
The 31-year-old Durant is a 10-time All-Star and four-time scoring champ in his 12 on-court seasons. The small forward was NBA MVP in 2013-14 as a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Durant has averaged 27.0 points, 7.1 rebounds and 4.1 assists in 849 career games. He was the No. 2 overall pick by the Seattle SuperSonics in the 2007 NBA Draft and that franchise moved to Oklahoma City after a debut season in which Durant won NBA Rookie of the Year honours.
The Nets also signed guard Kyrie Irving to a four-year, $136 million deal last summer and he played in just 20 games before undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery. The 28-year-old Irving averaged 27.4 points, 6.4 assists and 5.2 rebounds.
Brooklyn was 30-34 when the season was postponed and Marks said the organisation is preparing for numerous scenarios in case of a restart.
"Nobody quite knows what the new normal will be," Marks, a New Zealander, told Newshub. "The new normal we were predicting a week ago is vastly different to the one we're predicting right now ... things are changing so quickly."