Exclusive: NBA GM Says West Threat Looms Over Nets Kyrie Irving Trade Options

Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn Nets

Getty Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn Nets

The fallout from the canceled KD-Kyrie Brooklyn Victory Tour is still being calculated.

If Messrs. Durant, Irving and Harden are ever immortalized in a statue, it will be known as Mount Flushmore. (I’m here all week; try the veal.)

There is still much to be done before final judgment on the cutting down and re-lacing of the Nets can be made. Most prominent in this regard is what Brooklyn is able to get in return for Kevin Durant after his trade request. When one of the best players in hoop history is available with four years left on his contract, clubs will be more willing to part with assets because they know they’ll have him for what passes as an era in today’s NBA.

The process will largely have Nets GM Sean Marks sitting back and waiting for the winner of a bidding war for his superstar.

Marks will have far more difficulty finding a home — and a good return — for Kyrie Irving.

Even taking into account the fact Irving is under contract for just this season, the trade market for a player of his talent should be fairly vibrant. But such is not the case here.

According to league sources who’ve been involved in this situation over the last few weeks, any Irving trade is going to need a creative structure to work for both teams.

Then there’s simply the “Kyrie Factor,” and all the attendant weirdness and uncertainty that is part of that package.

Said one general manager, “The Nets couldn’t count on Kyrie to show up — and they were the team he CHOSE to be on. What’s it going to be like if he goes somewhere other than the Lakers or someone else he might decide to like at that moment?

“I could easily see him being somewhere he doesn’t want and inventing ways to miss games. I mean, he’s not going to want to waste his minutes and risk himself when he’s just sitting back waiting to go to L.A. (the Lakers) when the season’s over. If you’re the coach and you put him out on the floor, can you have any trust or belief that he’s invested in helping your team win? No [expletive] way.”

Ben Simmons’ New Nets Challenge

The schadenfreude is running deep and strong with some Philadelphia types. Sixer folks who feel burned by Ben Simmons are enjoying the moment — at least until the return the Nets get on a Durant trade is learned.

“Unless Brooklyn gets back major talent for KD — not just a load of first round picks and some players who match the money, but serious talent that can star now — then Ben’s going to lose his cover,” one source told Heavy. “When he got traded there, he was going to be with KD and Kyrie. Those are two guys who would do the stuff that Ben can’t … or doesn’t want to. They’d take the outside shots and absorb the main pressure of having to produce in the playoffs. If he’s ever got out there with them, all Ben would have to do to be successful is play really good defense and keep the ball moving.

“Depending on what Brooklyn gets back for KD, it could all be on Ben this year. And it’d be worse than it was (in Philadelphia) when he had Joel (Embiid).”

It’s been reported on this site that sources indicated Simmons’ problems with the 76ers grew because he was enabled there — a charge to which some involved admitted in conversations here. Simmons certainly had issues with Daryl Morey after the latter’s hiring (Morey was said to be trying to move Simmons for James Harden long before that deal went down), but the manner in which he essentially quit on the club last season was disturbing to both his teammates and others in the organization.

Agents Working NBA Teams

The negotiating games are on, according to an Eastern Conference front office source. Make that “games.” The quotation marks are needed.

“You get agents and looking to make deals for their guys, and they’re dropping these hints,” he said. “You always want to have good relationships with the agents, because you don’t want anything clouding the way if you’re trying to work out a contract. But the important thing is you can’t fall for it when they ask you for a favor on someone and either say or imply that they’ll owe you one or they’ll work with you on someone else.

“That never really works. The team never really gets paid back for that. You’ve given up something you didn’t necessarily want to, whether it’s more than you wanted to pay or number of years or even just taking a minimum guy onto your roster. And sometimes it can hurt you in a serious way when you’re trying to make another move a few months later.”

The team is contractually bound by the agreement on paper. “But they’re able to cut and run,” the exec said of the agents. “And what they leave in their wake is carnage, which is a cautionary tale to the rest of us about getting into bed with agents.

“I keep telling guys, every time you do a solid for an agent like it’s gonna come back to you, you’re kidding yourself. It’s not an agent’s job to do you a solid. An agent’s job is to do his client a solid. They’re not concerned about your organization, your operation. He’s concerned about his client — as he should be. And if he sacrifices one dollar or one benefit of one client to any of us, he’s not doing his job for his client and deserves to be fired.”


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