Rumors Kevin Durant would ask Brooklyn if Kyrie Irving left the Nets was the biggest story Thursday night at the 2022 NBA Draft.
Durant, however, did not reportedly tell the Nets he would ask for a trade, just a map of how they planned to contend after Irving.
Of course, this could all be putting the cart before the horse. It is believed that Irving and the Nets are still looking for common ground to keep him in Brooklyn, albeit with the fickle guard seeking a longer guaranteed deal and the team preferring a shorter one. Nets CEO Sean Marks and owner Joe Tsai are believed to agree on the matter.
The parties have reached an impasse in negotiations, and multiple outlets have reported that if Irving left, Durant – who came as a package with his longtime friend in 2019 – would follow suit in what would be a scenario. catastrophic for the Nets, one the Rockets would no doubt appreciate.
But ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said it’s not a foregone conclusion.
“KD’s desire to stay with the Nets doesn’t necessarily depend on Kyrie Irving leaving. That, if he walks, he wants to see how the roster could still be, how he could be remodeled, how he can still be a championship contender, “he said.”[Durant’s] starting that new four-year maximum contract. This is not the transfer portal. You cannot say where you would like to go. So if he made up his mind and wanted and asked for a trade – which I was told he didn’t tell the Nets he will or is ready to do – he probably won’t have much say in where he goes.
“So it has to be part of [Durant’s] thinking if he asked out of Brooklyn. But right now, I still think there is a path for the Nets, for Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant to find a way forward together. But it’s dark, and it’s uncertain. Listen, the future of this Nets organization is going to be very well determined here in the next few days or a week.
Irving has until Wednesday to withdraw his $ 36 million player option for next season. He could turn it down and become an unlimited free agent, able to sign with any team that can afford it.
And herein lies the problem.
With no contenders having significant limiting space – the Lakers would be able to offer him a mid-tier taxpayer exception of $ 6 million or a $ 30 million pay cut – Irving’s options are limited and his better leverage. comes from his friend Durant who threatens to follow him out the door.
But there is a perception among some of the league staff that this is an artfully crafted and well-coordinated bluff.
Irving would prefer a long-term deal to stay in Brooklyn or leave via a signing and swap agreement, so he can actually get a commensurate contract. He has provided the Nets with a list of favorite destinations: Clippers, Heat, Knicks, Lakers, Mavericks and 76ers. The Athletic reported that “there is an expectation that Kyrie Irving will now proceed shortly to find a home via an opt-in and exchange.”
A sign-and-trade would put a strain on the team taking Irving. Participating and waiting someday would remove that obstacle and make a deal easier.
But not all the teams Irving wants want it in return.
The Knicks, for example, have actively cleared up the hood space. On Thursday they traded Kemba Walker and a first rounder with the Pistons, but he was in pursuit of Jalen Brunson, not Irving.
The Nets entered the draft in their building without a single choice (they postponed the first round obtained by the 76ers in the James Harden-Ben Simmons swap to next year). They gave Houston not only their first rounds of 2024 and 2026 for Harden, but the right to trade in 2023, 2025, and 2027.
They are also over the edge even if Irving leaves as a free agent, so they should be creative to keep a winner around Durant and Simmons. These are the conversations Durant will request from Marks. Tsai liked a tweet that supported his GM and included “Team and culture> any player”.
According to The Athletic, the Nets have signed 6-foot-5, 210-pound Wake Forest guard Alondes Williams in a two-way deal. He has a great frame if he averages and averages 18 points, 6.4 boards and 5.2 assists. Williams was chosen as the second round pick in fictional drafts.