It’s getting hard to deny that Kyrie Irving’s tea leaves form a giant arrow pointing out of the Brooklyn Nets. Maybe they’ll do the same for Kevin Durant.
An hour before the 2022 NBA draft, a few additional reports came out indicating that not only does Irving have a list of preferred destinations if he ends up going the sign-and-trade route, but Durant is also considering his future with the net.
The Durant report came from The Athletic’s Shams Charania, while ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Irving’s destination list.
Wojnarowski noted the teams on Irving’s list may not prioritize him despite his interest.
The two reports are our strongest sign, but the Nets could be entering an unexpected seismic low season, with both superstars potentially looking for an exit sign.
What are the Nets going to do with Kyrie Irving?
It hasn’t really been a secret that Irving might be on his way out of Brooklyn. Nets general manager Sean Marks fired off those rumors by emphatically saying his team wants players who could be “available” after a shocking first round, and a deadlock over Irving’s potential contract extension ensued.
Irving is eligible for a five-year extension worth up to $248 million this off-season, but the Nets are seemingly apprehensive about tying a player long-term with his issues, namely the afterthought emerged over his last season. refusal to be vaccinated. If no deal is reached, Irving has a $36.9 million player option for next season and could enter free agency this summer.
That list of potential sign-and-trade destinations yields some wild results, most notably a reunion with LeBron James on the Los Angeles Lakers (Russell Westbrook plays quite a part there). There is also the option to follow James Harden to the Philadelphia 76ers and replace Jalen Brunson at the Dallas Mavericks.
The group is essentially made up of clear contenders (depending on your standards) and the New York Knicks. Whether all those teams want Irving remains to be seen, both for basketball reasons and the problems that are clearly unavoidable when using the All-Star point guard.
If this is really it for the Nets and Irving, the team will be under tremendous pressure to maintain its own contender status, especially given that Durant just hinted that he might be thinking about his future with the team as things don’t work out.
Durant signed a $198 million four-year extension last season, but players have forced their way out of a team early on in their contracts.
The Nets have been leaning towards this situation for a while now, but it remains shocking how badly the Durant-Irving era has fared so far.
In fact, a deep run into the NBA playoffs felt like a foregone conclusion when they started a team three years ago. They then spent season one with Durant sidelined by a torn Achilles, fell to the Milwaukee Bucks in last year’s Eastern Conference semifinals despite achieving superteam status with James Harden on board, and they covered the drama of Harden’s departure, Irving’s lack of vaccination and another Durant injury this season.
Over three seasons with both under contract, the Nets set a 127-99 regular season record without a conference final appearance. Durant played in 39.8 percent of those games, while Irving played in 45.6 percent.