According to a report by Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News, the Brooklyn Nets are “unwilling” to give All-NBA point guard Kyrie Irving a long-term extension. As he enters the final year of his current contract, Irving has a player option where he can either opt into the final year of his deal or opt out and become a free agent this summer. Chris Miller of NBC Sports Washington notes that in the event that Irving decides to leave, the Chicago Bulls could be a potential trade partner for the Nets in a sign and trade deal.
“This is entirely predicated on the possibility Zach LaVine leaves in free agency. There seems to be some momentum behind that happening, between reports out of Chicago and also LaVine saying publicly he’s always been a Lakers fan,” Miller writes per NBC Sports Washington.
“Whether it’s L.A. or not, it seems entirely possible he bolts and leaves the Bulls with a roster ready to win and a hole in their backcourt. Irving could fill that spot nicely; the problem would just be making a deal work to get him there. It wouldn’t be easy, but Irving would be an ideal replacement for LaVine if it comes to that.”
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Kyrie and Kevin Durant Are a Packaged Deal for Nets
Kevin Durant and Kyrie both agreed to join the Nets with the understanding that they would be linked as the franchise’s cornerstone pieces for the foreseeable future. But with reports that the Nets are unwilling to offer him a long-term extension, Irving’s future with the franchise is already coming into question after just three seasons.
Durant has continually voiced his support for Irving’s decisions, which seems to confirm that he still wants to play with him. In a recent report from Andy Bailey of Bleacher Report, he notes that Kyrie and KD are a package deal, and there is no situation where the Nets could have one and not the other.
“KD is 33, and he finally started to show real signs of basketball mortality in a first-round sweep at the hands of the Boston Celtics (when he shot 38.6 percent from the field). But after clearing the books to make way for him and Irving, Brooklyn would surely like to have more than three early playoff exits to show for it,” Bailey Writes per Bleacher Report.
“If losing Irving means losing Durant, Brooklyn almost has to figure something out with the former, at least for another year or two. The notion that any front office would be frustrated with Irving isn’t surprising. It’s the other factors that make a departure feel unlikely. The Nets might just have to put up with Kyrie as long as KD supports him.”
Nets Better Off With Kyrie Irving Than Without Him
While the Nets’ reported uneasiness about Irving may be warranted,the current situation has to be viewed from a realistic scope. And the reality is that the Nets mortgaged their future to have Durant and Kyrie.
Include the fact that they have already parted with one All-Star in James Harden, it would do them no good to trade Irving and leave KD to shoulder the bulk of the load. Especially with him being just three seasons removed from an Achilles tear. After three seasons of not making it past the first round with the star duo, Nets fans are hungry for change, and rightfully so. But the reality is that Brooklyn has a much better chance of winning a championship with Irving on the roster.