The Brooklyn Nets have been surging in recent weeks. Winning 12 of their last 13 games, they are one of the hottest teams in the NBA and for possibly the first time since Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving came to Brooklyn, the team is drama free. How long will that last? Back in November, Matt Sullivan from Rolling Stone reported that the Nets governors Joe and Clara Wu Tsai considered waiving Irving after his lack of remorse around sharing a link to a video filled with antisemitic tropes. Now, the team is rolling, and a trade involving either Nets superstar seems unlikely.
Kyrie Irving Linked to the Houston Rockets
However, it may be the duo’s last chance to prove themselves in Brooklyn. Irving is in the final year of his contract with Brooklyn, and the Nets risk losing him for nothing at the end of the season. Because of the unknown future for the Nets All-Star point guard, ESPN’s NBA Insider Zach Lowe shared that he “wouldn’t rule anything out with Kyrie or the Houston Rockets.
“If you look at this summer’s free agents, it’s like, Kyrie,” said Lowe with a grimace about potential options for the Houston Rockets during the December 27 episode of ‘The Lowe Post’ podcast. “I wouldn’t rule anything out with Kyrie or the Houston Rockets.”
Many are excited about the current Nets’ run and the impressive form they are playing in. Even Joe Tsai tweeted his excitement after Irving’s game-winning shot in their December 26 win over the Toronto Raptors. Is this newfound excitement enough to keep Irving in Brooklyn beyond this season? It’s likely Durant wants him to stay, but does Irving? He was said to have major interest in joining the Los Angeles Lakers and reuniting with LeBron James this offseason, and now Lowe linking him to Houston? Will he stay in Brooklyn?
On January 2, Bleacher Reports Greg Swartz furthered the link of Irving to the Nets in his column ‘Fact or Fiction: Kyrie Irving to Houston Rockets, and Other NBA Rumors.”
“While the Rockets won’t be ready to win a title anytime soon, their potential need for a point guard and ridiculous amount of spending money mean we shouldn’t rule out Irving signing with Houston just yet, especially if things go south (again) in Brooklyn.
Fact or Fiction: Fact. It’s all love between Irving and the Nets for now. Obviously, we know this can change, and the Rockets should be major spenders in free agency and on the lookout for a point guard,” Swartz wrote.
Kyrie Irving Praises Nets Coach Jacque Vaughn
One reason things have been different in Brooklyn has been Jacque Vaughn’s promotion to head coach after the team moved on from Steve Nash on November 1. Vaughn has brought an extra level of leadership that the Nets players have responded well to. Irving recently commented on Vaughn’s leadership and what it has meant for the team in a conversation with ESPN’s Nick Friedell.
“He gives you an ease,” Irving told Friedell. “When you come into the locker room nothing’s forced, he’s not too high or too low. He’s just holding himself to a high standard, exemplifying what a leader should look like. So as our head coach, as our leader, I’ve been able to learn some things from him.
“And that’s just being able to have relationships with everybody and being able to get the best out of everybody. And that’s been a lesson for me; I felt like this year was just learning how to get the best out of everybody instead of trying to do it all yourself or trying to overthink the game. We’ve got good pieces in that locker room, a good coaching staff. The level of play should raise and it should get easier.”
Could the recent Nets run and leadership of Vaughn be the shift in Brooklyn that can keep the lethal dynamic duo of Irving and Durant in Brooklyn long term? Will the team remain drama free to entice the Nets brass to re-sign Irving? We will see how the remainder of the season goes and how they ride out this hot streak. However, as Lowe reported the Nets no longer seem to be the only team interested in signing their All-Star point guard.