Kevin Durant still could stay with Nets even if Kyrie Irving bolts

Rumblings that Kevin Durant would demand out of Brooklyn if Kyrie Irving had been to go away the Nets was the largest story Thursday night time on the 2022 NBA Draft.

Durant, nonetheless, reportedly hasn’t advised the Nets he’d ask for a commerce, only a map of how they might plan to contend post-Irving.

After all, that would all be placing the cart earlier than the horse. Irving and the Nets are nonetheless believed to be searching for frequent floor to maintain him in Brooklyn, albeit with the mercurial guard in search of an extended assured deal and the staff preferring a shorter one. Nets common supervisor Sean Marks and proprietor Joe Tsai are believed to lend a hand on the matter.

The perimeters reached an deadlock in negotiations, and a number of shops reported that if the Irving leaves, Durant — who arrived as a bundle take care of his longtime pal in 2019 — would comply with go well with in what can be a catastrophic worst-case situation for the Nets, one which the Rockets would little question relish.

However ESPN reported that’s not a forgone conclusion.

Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving
Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving
Getty Photographs

“I’m advised that Kevin Durant has not advised the Nets that if Kyrie Irving leaves, which means he’s going to ask for a commerce,” ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski stated throughout stay TV protection from the draft at Barclays Middle. “What Kevin Durant needs to know — like another star of his stature — that if Kyrie Irving does stroll, if he does take that mid-level exception with the Lakers, what would a reconfigured Nets staff appear like? How they might attempt to reshape the roster so the Nets would be capable of return, within the close to time period and have a championship contender?”

Irving has till Wednesday to select up his $36 million participant possibility for subsequent season. He might decline it and develop into an unrestricted free agent, in a position to signal with any staff that may afford him.

And therein lies the rub.

With no contenders having vital cap area — the Lakers would be capable of supply him a $6 million taxpayer midlevel exception, or a $30 million pay minimize — Irving’s choices are restricted and his finest leverage comes from his pal Durant threatening to comply with him out the door.

However there’s a notion amongst some league personnel that that is an artfully crafted and well-coordinated bluff.

Irving would like both a long-term deal to stay in Brooklyn or to go away through a sign-and-trade, so he can really get a commensurate contract. He gave the Nets an inventory of most popular locations — the Clippers, Warmth, Knicks, Lakers, Mavericks and 76ers. The Athletic reported that “there’s an expectation that Kyrie Irving will now proceed shortly into discovering a house through an opt-in and commerce.”

An indication-and-trade would hard-cap the staff that will get Irving. Opting and ready a day would remove that hurdle, and would make a deal simpler.

However not the entire groups that Irving needs to play for need him in return.

The Knicks, for instance, have been actively clearing cap area. They traded Kemba Walker and a first-rounder to the Pistons on Thursday, however it was in pursuit of Jalen Brunson, not Irving.

The Nets went into the draft of their constructing with no single choose (they deferred the first-rounder they acquired from the 76ers within the James Harden-Ben Simmons commerce into subsequent yr). They not solely owe Houston their 2022, 2024 and 2026 first-rounders for Harden, however the appropriate to swap in 2023, 2025 and 2027.

They’re additionally over the cap even when Irving leaves as a free agent, so they might must be inventive to keep up a winner round Durant and Simmons. These are the conversations Durant will demand of Marks. Tsai appreciated a tweet that supported his GM and included “Workforce and tradition > anyone participant.”

“These will definitely be the questions that Kevin Durant goes to have for the Nets. That’s a dialog I consider they’ve had. You’re all the time having a dialog along with your finest participant,” Wojnarowski stated. “However I’m advised once more that Kevin Durant has not advised the Nets that if Kyrie Irving leaves, which means he’s going to ask for a commerce. He’s acquired 4 years left on his contract.”

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