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Kyrie Irving situation with Nets risks ‘alienating’ Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant Brooklyn Nets
Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) reacts during the second half of Game 4.
AP Photo/John Minchillo

It appears the ramifications of the stalled negotiations between the Brooklyn Nets and Kyrie Irving could have broader ramifications for the organization. NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski reported Wednesday afternoon that the Nets are trying to balance being disciplined in their ongoing talks with the superstar, while potentially alienating their most important player Kevin Durant.

it’s part of the delicate balancing act that hangs above all of the drama that has been going on between the organization and Irving. The possibility of Irving leaving this offseason became more realistic after a report on Monday and now that could lead to Durant wanting out of Kings County via a trade.

“Now, Durant is just starting a four-year extension. So he’s tied contractually to Brooklyn,” Wojnarowski said during an appearance on Sportscenter. “In a perfect world, the Nets find a way to do a deal that still gives them some leverage to get Kyrie Irving on the court next season, but certainly, if he’s willing to take significantly less money, he could walk, he could perhaps sign that $6 million exception with the Lakers. That would be a $30 million pay cut but honestly last year, he lost about $17 million for being unvaccinated and out of the Nets lineup.”

In a subsequent report, the NBA Insider noted the lack of activity from Durant this offseason in working to recruit free agents. Additionally, the drama surrounding Irving has made it harder for the Nets to “keep and court players.” 

The drama has certainly added to the already bizarre nature of the Nets’ 2021-22 season, which has extended into the offseason. 

Kyrie Irving
Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) walks up the court during the first half of Game 4 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Boston Celtics, Monday, April 25, 2022, in New York.AP Photo/John Minchillo

News and rumors have been coming hot and heavy since Monday’s initial report and it’s fair to say it’s left Nets fans a bit on edge. Marc Stein also reported on Wednesday in his weekly newsletter that there have been “credible rumblings in circulation that Irving, for starters has indeed had some recent contact with Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James.” 

The conversations are believed to have been around a reunion between James and Irving. The Los Angeles Lakers were one of three teams that were linked as potential suitors for Irving in Monday’s report by The Athletic.

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Also mentioned by Stein as a possible player in the Irving sweepstakes, should it get to that point, could be the Miami Heat. The Heat “would figure to be a more legitimate landing spot than the teams initially mentioned given the Heat’s various trade assets,” Stein wrote.

Irving has until June 29 to decide on what to do about his player option for next season, but there is still a general consensus that Irving and the Nets will find a way to work out something for next season. 

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