There’s a real possibility Kyrie Irving could leave the Brooklyn Nets this offseason and sign with another team if the two sides can’t come to some sort of agreement.
The Athletic’s Shams Charania reports the team and Irving are at an impasse with his contract, and there is now concern he could opt out of his deal and pursue other avenues this summer.
As for potential teams who could acquire the star guard, Charania named the Knicks, Clippers, and Lakers as possible destinations. Of the three teams listed, it seems like teaming up with LeBron James and the Lakers is the most likely.
While a trade might be the best way to get him there, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst says Irving taking less money to leave the Nets and join the Lakers can’t be ruled out entirely, as unlikely as that might seem.
Irving to LA?
Windhorst says that since Irving is an “unconventional thinker” he could decide to leave money behind and join the Lakers.
“He’s not going to go play in Milwaukee for the mid-level, I don’t even know if he’d go play in New York for the mid-level,” he said. “But going to play with LeBron and the Lakers for the mid-level, you can’t rule that out. He would have to twist that possibility to make the Nets sweat and that would take some sort of action to create that feeling.”
Getting Kyrie Irving for around $6 million would be a crazy possibility, but Windhorst says it can’t be ignored. Despite the rumblings, he reports there’s a belief around the league Irving will be on the Nets next season, so this could all just be a ploy to get what he wants from Brooklyn.
“A lot of the league still believes that ultimately he’s going to be back in Brooklyn,” Windhorst reported on Wednesday.
It’s no secret that Irving and Durant came together to Brooklyn, so them breaking up seems to be unlikely despite what Irving might be suggesting.
Would the Nets Consider a Move?
The Nets are in a bit of a rough spot because Irving holds a lot of the cards in the current situation.
Irving could decide to opt out of his deal and leave for nothing this summer, something that would cripple the Nets going forward. It’d be near impossible to find a way to replace his production this year if they can’t pull off a sign-and-trade with him at the very least.
There are various ways for him to end up with LeBron in Los Angeles. The simple way would be to decline his option and sign for cheap, or he could be shipped out of town through a trade that would get the Nets something in return.
Although Irving has been a headache for the Nets for much of the past year, he is a vital part of the team and will play a big role next season as part of the Big 3 consisting of himself, Ben Simmons and Kevin Durant. The three haven’t played together as of yet so there’s currently no way of knowing how they will mesh together.