Is it Draft Night in the NBA and what is everyone talking about at ESPN’s morning shows?
The Brooklyn Nets and their prodigal point guard, Kyrie Irving,
There were Adrian Wojnarowski and Brian Windhorst Get up Thursday morning and even though they didn’t offer much, if nothing else, again, the two reporters reiterated their basic views: for Woj that the Nets are risking a lot if they fail to strike a deal and risk losing Kevin. Durant in the process; for Windhorst, that the most likely scenario is a return of Irving.
They both believe that 1) the Nets entered the talks with their eyes open, knowing the possible risk they are taking to KD’s future commitment, and 2) that Irving will likely return unless he is willing to give up $ 30 million. or more to sign with another team.
There’s no real clarity as to where things stand, but reading the tea leaves, it appears the Nets are offering Irving a two-year extension worth $ 84 million with incentives. The maximum they can give him is much higher: $ 246 million out of five. Interestingly, the discussion centered on the more extreme outcome – Irving leaves Brooklyn and signs for MLE taypayers – and not a sign and trade.
“Obviously, Kyrie Irving has until next week to decide on that player option in her contract,” said Woj. “Just because he renounces the deal doesn’t necessarily mean he’s leaving the Nets. He can still negotiate an extension. He can actually trade more than the $ 36 million he owed if he decides to join.
“And listen, his options are limited on the market. The Lakers and Knicks are definitely targets for him, but all the Lakers could offer him is a $ 6 million exemption.
“So he should be able to take a $ 35, $ 36 million pay cut next year to leave Brooklyn. Essentially, the Nets want to make a shorter deal with Kyrie Irving, something that gives them protections, perhaps based on the games they play. He hasn’t played or been available as much as they would have liked him to be for the past couple of years.
“Kyrie Irving wants a long-term, maximum and certainly good part of this decision, these negotiations, to be based on the impact this will have on Kevin Durant. He wants Kyrie Irving back. He understands that with him, if this is a healthy team, this is still a contender for the championship “.
Woj also spoke about Durant’s position, asking questions about his commitment if Irving’s negotiations go south, he will be left without his best friend.
“The Nets are concerned – and rightly so – that if Kyrie Irving leaves, Kevin Durant would ask for a trade. And with four years left on his contract, he’s definitely committed to the team.
“He has signed a long-term contract, but even if you are Kyrie Irving also the fatigue that others have experienced around him and the drama that surrounds it. At some point, you know, even Kevin Durant can feel some of that tiredness. But it’s really a line the Nets are trying to follow this week to strike a deal with Kyrie Irving: find common ground there that holds this team together and not them in a position where Kevin Durant’s desire to be there is put. in discussion. “
Windhorst provided a bigger picture of Irving’s options, or lack thereof.
“As far as I know, as I speak to people all over the league, there is no team moving right now trying to free up space to try and make a path to give Kyrie Irving a big deal. The team at the top of that list is the New York Knicks because they are making moves to free up space for a point guard, but they are either trading to get Jaden Ivey or freeing up additional space to chase Jalen Brunson into free agency next week. It’s not Kyrie Irving at the top of their wish list.
He argued that Irving is not about leaving. It’s about giving the Nets a chance to find common ground to strike a deal.
“When the Nets decided to go this route, they were aware of Kyrie Irving’s statement at the end of the season that he planned to return to Brooklyn. They realized that this was his choice. The rest of the league heard it too. They know Kyrie’s intention isn’t to look away, it’s to put pressure on the Nets, not that he wants to leave.
“This could really depend on Kyrie’s willingness to give up and try to probe the market, to show up in Los Angeles on June 30 to suggest that she wants to be a Laker, something like that. But in reality, the Nets are taking a calculated risk. They knew there was a calculated risk with Kevin Durant. None of this took them by surprise. They are trying to get their leverage. Kyrie is trying to play the “of him” of him.
Both were asked by Mike Greenberg what they expected will happen, Irving will be on the Nets roster after next week.
“I think people expect Kyrie Irving to return based on the economic aspect,” Woj told Greenie. “And how big a financial blow Kyrie Irving would have had to endure, BUT he also probably surprised a lot of people with his willingness to lose $ 17 million last year because he wouldn’t get vaccinated. So there’s a precedent for him for leaving money. on the table, but that’s a lot of money and he’s losing a lucrative shoe business. “
“I can almost tell you that in NBA history I can’t think of another player willing to leave $ 30 million on the table and leave Kevin Durant to go to Los Angeles,” said Windhorst. “But Kyrie Irving is one of the most unpredictable and inexplicable players. And that wildcard creates uncertainty here. Otherwise, this is an academic situation, but with Kyrie Irving, it’s never academic. “
Later First Take, Windhorst offered some general optimism about the Nets.
“I still think this Nets roster has a lot to offer,” he said. “I think Ben Simmons is the kind of defensive playmaker who could potentially make a big difference to a team whose defense held them back last year. I think you put Seth Curry and Joe Harris on the floor with Kevin Durant, even without Ben Simmons out there, you have a huge distance between the floor. I think Steve Nash has improved as a manager over time. I think this Nets team has a lot to offer. “
However, Windy also noted that even if Kyrie goes on her own, Nets’ payroll problems will keep them over the edge … with little hope of making a big deal.
“I report it because I know that all the fans calculate all of this… it’s complicated. If Kyrie left and did what I think is incredibly impossible and walked away from $ 30 million and went to the Lakers, that wouldn’t mean the Nets would have room for the salary cap. I’m so over the cap and tax that even if that $ 37 million came off the books, they still wouldn’t be able to sign another player. “
Windhorst added that that reality is something Irving is using as leverage and why Durant is “watching very closely.”
Unsaid is how an extended impasse could affect the situation on the Nets’ roster. With nine free agents, the Nets will have to make a number of decisions whether to bring back some players or add more. Irving’s decision will impact not only the roster structure but also the salary cap situation of the Nets.