NEW YORK -- It is very hard, as of Saturday -- the day before the Oklahoma City Thunder visit the Brooklyn Nets at snowy Barclays Center -- to envision a scenario in which Kevin Durant leaves Oklahoma City over the summer for a franchise seemingly in disarray like Brooklyn.
But rival agents suggest it would be unwise to dismiss that scenario entirely -- even if it makes no sense on the surface as of Jan. 23, 2016.
Because seriously: Why on earth would a superstar such as Durant be willing to leave Russell Westbrook, a franchise on pace for 60 wins and more money for a franchise without a coach, a GM or total control over its first-round pick until 2019 that is on pace for 20 wins?
Well, let's start here: Durant is represented by Roc Nation Sports and Jay Z. And which team did the hip-hop mogul turned power agent formerly hold a minority ownership stake in? The Nets. Now, let's add this: The president/chief of branding and strategy of Roc Nation is Michael Yormark. Who is his twin brother? CEO of Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment Brett Yormark.
Other potential enticing factors could include: the New York market and a chance to play home games in a topflight $1 billion arena; the potential for a prideful player such as Durant to be the top dog in town; and the opportunity to potentially play with more of a pass-first type of point guard, whom the Nets would have to acquire via free agency or trade.
Plus, regardless of whether Durant cares or not, there are no Golden State Warriors or San Antonio Spurs to contend with in the Eastern Conference. Just the Cleveland Cavaliers, and LeBron James, who will be 32 in December 2016.
Is it a pipe dream? Maybe. Maybe not. Plenty can happen between now and July 1, which still gives hope to a few teams -- including the Nets.
After all, Mikhail Prokhorov, the 6-foot-8 Russian billionaire who owns the team, hasn't backed off his belief -- perhaps delusional as it may be following his failed five-year title plan -- that the 11-33 Nets are maybe just one or two players away from championship contention.
Durant -- 2014 MVP, seven-time All-Star, four-time scoring champion, 2013 50/40/90 club member -- certainly fits the bill.
There will certainly be no shortage of suitors for his services: Golden State, Washington, the L.A. Lakers, Miami, New York and Houston (plus, obviously, OKC) all have been linked to No. 35.
The Nets don't exactly stand out from that pack. Their facilities may be world class, but their roster certainly isn't. Brook Lopez, Thaddeus Young, Bojan Bogdanovic, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Chris McCullough are all quality pieces, but on this team, the first three are all playing in roles a peg or two above what would maximize their capabilities.
And it sure would be nice if the Nets would change the way they handle business -- hiring smart basketball people and then being hands-off. That means seeking out the opinions of multiple people on important decisions -- maybe even some of them who disagree (gasp) -- not just Dmitry Razumov turning to his bestie until the bitter end, Billy King, and asking the advice of the now demoted GM who turned the roster into a mess in the first place.
But adding a franchise-changing player such as Durant would give the Nets' fans reasons for hope and instantly put the team back into the local and national conversation. TV ratings and attendance would skyrocket -- as would jersey and merchandise sales.
Kevin Durant is everything the Nets want but don't have. Just don't count out the possibility -- as improbable as it may seem. Certainly not as of Jan. 23, 2016, anyway.