Is there a chance Kyrie Irving remains a Brooklyn Net if KD leaves?

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Kyrie Irving Kevin Durant Nets
Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) sits on the baseline during the first half of Game 3 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Boston Celtics, Saturday, April 23, 2022, in New York.
AP Photo/John Minchillo

Since the news that Kevin Durant had requested out of Brooklyn, the working theory had been that Kyrie Irving wouldn’t be too far behind him on the way out. But is there a chance that Irving remains with the Nets organization if general manager Sean Marks does get his king’s ransom for the Nets’ most valuable player? 

From the public posturing, it seems that it’s not out of the realm of possibilities that Irving would wear black and white next season if “7” isn’t there with him. The mercurial superstar has undoubtedly let it be known that Kings County is where he’d like to play still.

While Irving hasn’t spoken publically since a brief exchange with The Athletic’s Shams Charania to say he’d opt into the final year of his contract, reports from the New York Post and recently by Charania have indicated the star’s desire to stay with the Nets. Whether or not that is being put out there to deflect from any negativity that may come if he is still with the team in the fall is unclear. 

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Additionally, NBA insiders have continued to cast doubt that the Nets would keep Irving around if Durant gets dealt. 

“If (Kevin) Durant goes, I don’t see any way that the Nets just keep Kyrie (Irving). I think if they can find a Durant trade, they will aggressively ramp up their desire to move Kyrie elsewhere,” Marc Stein said during a Spotify Live on Monday

Still, Irving had spent most of 2022 talking about how much he’d like to stay in Brooklyn and if the option is available to the Nets — depending on what, if any, deal may be out there for Irving — they should undoubtedly welcome him back on the court. 

It was clear by Marks’ end-of-the-year press conference that the off-the-court drama had taken its toll on the Nets GM and in turn on the club. In fairness, it was sure to have weighed on Irving, who had said as much in a podcast interview after the season.

And Marks’ comments seemed to be the turning point for Irving, who explored his options outside of Brooklyn including looking for sign and trade possibilities. The market response has been tepid for the point guard with Los Angeles appearing to be the only team seriously interested in adding Irving. 

All signs still seem to suggest that Durant’s time in Brooklyn is coming to a close at some point in the future, but Irving’s doesn’t necessarily have to and the Nets should be inclined to keep him if they hope to be a contender going forward. Losing Durant will undoubtedly set the Nets back, but losing both superstars would put them in a place that will take even longer to recover from. 

Pairing Irving with whatever haul Brooklyn gets back for Durant would at least keep the Nets in the contender conversation. While the seven-time NBA All-Star’s stats weren’t great in the playoffs, he had a dominating year in the 29 regular season games that he did appear in. 

Irving averaged 27.4 points per game, which tied a career-best, and shot 46.9% from the field and 41.8% from beyond the arc. He also scored 50 or more points twice in 2021-22, which included a 60-point effort against the Orlando Magic. 

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It’s not hard to imagine that Irving will be even more motivated after the events that have transpired this past year and during the offseason to go out and prove that he is worth a max contract. 

What transpires for the Nets going forward is still anyone’s guess, but the window could still be open for Irving to remain a net even if Durant is dealt elsewhere. 

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