This week Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving will have to make a decision as it pertains to his NBA future. He can either opt into the final year of his deal with the Nets or opt out and assess the free-agent market on July 1. Irving is eligible to receive a max extension from the Nets, which would make him the seventh highest-paid player in the NBA at roughly $43 million a year. But his sporadic availability since he arrived in 2019 has made the Nets reluctant to extend such an offer to him.
If Kyrie enters free agency, the superstar point guard has already carved out a list of preferred destinations. Of the teams on his wishlist, the Los Angeles Lakers seem to be the most intriguing. It would mean a reunion with his former Cleveland Cavalier teammate LeBron James, who together beat the 73-9 Golden State Warriors to win the 2016 NBA title.
But after securing their fourth title since 2015 this past season, Warriors forward Draymond Green says he isn’t worried about a potential Kyrie and LeBron reunion.
“With LeBron, if you give him someone like Kyrie…they’ll have a chance because of the way Kyrie can score the basketball,” Green said during an interview with Lucas Shaw of “Bloomberg” on June 27. “They could contend, but they won’t beat us.”
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Green Drops Truth Bomb About Kyrie’s Leadership
Kyrie left the Cavaliers in 2017 to join the Boston Celtics because he wanted to have a chance to lead his own team. Having the opportunity to team up with a budding duo of Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, most thought the sky was the limit with the addition of Kyrie, who just a year prior outplayed MVP Steph Curry in the NBA Finals. But the reality was that in many ways, Irving was the limit.
After Irving sustained a knee injury during the 2018 season that held him out of the playoffs, the Celtics gave LeBron and the new-look Cavs all they could manage in the Eastern Conference Finals but fell at home in Game 7. But after coming within minutes of advancing to the Finals, many believed the Celtics had arrived, especially with a healthy Irving looming.
However, the following year with Irving available, they lost to the Milwaukee Bucks in the second round of the playoffs. Kyrie shot just 6/21 from the field in the elimination Game 5. Green says that having LeBron as his co-star could serve as an ‘umbrella’ for a lot of Kyrie’s discrepancies as a player.
“LeBron will only put him in position to do that. Kyrie has not proven to be a great leader. LeBron will put an umbrella over that. If you can do what you’re good at.” Green added.
Lakers ‘Most Significant Threat’ to Land Kyrie
Irving came to the Nets with Durant in 2019, hoping that the two would be a duo that could last well into the future. But with the deadline looming, Irving faces perhaps the biggest decision of his and Durant’s career. ESPN insider Adrian Wojnarowski says that if Irving decides to jet from Brooklyn in free agency, the Los Angeles Lakers are considered the ‘most significant threat’ to land the Nets star.
“While some believe that accomplishing that tall task is nearly impossible for the organization, it appears that the Lakers are seen as the ‘most significant threat’ to land a certain superstar guard. That star is none other than Kyrie Irving, LeBron James’ former teammate,” Wojnarowski said on the June 22 edition of ESPN’s “NBA Today”.
Irving has two days remaining to opt into the final year of his contract with the Nets. It’s a decision that could shake up the structure of the entire NBA.