After weeks of rumors linking Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving to the Miami Heat, New York Daily News reporter Kristian Winfield delivered a bombshell update on Monday, June 27, that moved the needle for this wild move becoming reality.
Winfield wrote, “While Nets GM Sean Marks and superstar forward Kevin Durant have yet to speak this offseason, Irving’s camp has requested and received permission from the Nets to speak with other teams about sign-and-trade packages, according to multiple sources familiar with the situation.”
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While this could be a calculated move to pressure Brooklyn into offering the seven-time All-Star a long-term deal, “The belief among both league and player circles is that Irving is gone,” Winfield wrote.
Irving has until June 29 to decide on his $36.9 million player option for the 2022-23 season. However, Windfield noted that the Nets don’t have the cap space to replace the 30-year-old guard as a free agent, and the only teams that could afford him are franchises that needy much than one superstar to be a championship-caliber team:
Which brings us to a sign-and-trade, and Irving reportedly has six teams on his radar: the Lakers, Clippers, Knicks, Heat, 76ers and Mavericks. A Durant and Westbrook reunion in Brooklyn remains unlikely, according to a source. The Knicks, Mavericks and Heat are the teams that have the biggest capacity to pull off a deal for Irving, but the Knicks and Mavericks appear to be in a bidding war over free agent guard Jalen Brunson.
Three days before Winfield’s report came out, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said that negotiations between Irving and the Nets were not going well.
“Listen, people try to gain leverage. If you’re Kyrie Irving, you’re trying to go get the Nets to give you a longer-term deal with more guaranteed money than they want to give. The Nets are trying to go in the other direction—shorter deal, incentivized because he just hasn’t been on the floor as much as they’d like the couple of years. This is getting acrimonious.”
Sign-and-trades can not be formally discussed until after 6 p.m. on Thursday, June, 30.
Several NBA Analysts Reported Heat Would Be the ‘Most Realistic’ Landing Sport for Irving
Last month, NBC Sports analyst Chase Hughes named the Heat as one of the “Top 5 Best Fits” for Irving.
“The Heat have a top-5 defense and the 10th-ranked offense, but as we’ve seen in the playoffs, could use a dynamic scorer who can create for himself like Irving,” Hughes wrote. “Whether he could meld with their system and culture is a fair question, but he seems like the perfect player to get them over the top and combat the suffocating defenses of the top teams in the East.”
Wojnarowski tweeted on June 23 that if “Irving can’t reach an agreement to stay with Brooklyn, he has a list of teams he’d like them to consider on sign-and-trades, including Lakers, Clippers, Knicks, Heat, Mavs and 76ers. None of those teams have cap space to sign him without Nets’ help.”
If Irving is looking to leave Brooklyn, the Heat are not only top of the Duke alum’s list, but a “most realistic” landing spot, according to Bleacher Report’s Andy Bailey.
Bailey wrote on June 24, “Kyrie’s trade value may be diminished by the last several years of drama, unavailability and aging… but that doesn’t mean Brooklyn is just going to give him away.
“If he’s healthy and engaged (big ifs, to be sure), he’s the kind of talent who can lift you to a championship-caliber offense, which is why the Miami Heat should perk up at the thought of Kyrie being available.”
What Would the Heat Need to Give Up to Sign Irving?
In order to land the first overall pick from the 2011 NBA Draft, The Ringer’s Bill Simmons suggested a hypothetical trade involving Irving and the Heat on June 5.
“How about Lowry and Duncan Robinson for Kyrie and Joe Harris,” Simmons said on The Bill Simmons Podcast. “Kyrie in Heat culture? The sky is the limit… I think Spo [Heat’s head coach Erik Spoelstra] would say I’m in,” Simmons added with a laugh. “He’ll say, ‘We made it work for Jimmy. Let’s just get crazier.’
Bailey suggested Miami sends Tyler Herro, Kyle Lowry, a 2023 first-round pick, and a 2028 first-round pick, in exchange for Irving.
According to Miami Herald’s Anthony Chiang, the Heat aren’t willing to bet the ranch for Irving. Chiang tweeted on Monday, “Heat’s potential interest in Kyrie Irving will depend on what his price is on the trade market. The belief is Heat isn’t giving up its top trade assets for Irving.”
While Wojnrowski reported that the Los Angeles Lakers are planning to pursue Irving, “Brooklyn isn’t believe to have interest in available Lakers packages.”