NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that rivals teams are hoping Kyrie Irving leaves the Brooklyn Nets as some feel it would give them a better chance at signing Kevin Durant. Irving wants a long-term extension, while the Nets appear to be willing only to negotiate a short-term deal with Irving, who missed over 50 games this past season.
This week, NBA insider Shams Charania reported: "Kyrie Irving, Nets are at impasse in conversations about his future in Brooklyn, clearing way for the seven-time All-Star to consider the open market. Lakers and Knicks expected to emerge among potential suitors."
If Irving leaves the Nets, the Nets might be forced to hit the rebuild mode and that could mean saying goodbye to former NBA MVP Durant. "There are teams rooting for Kyrie Irving to opt-out and walk away from the Nets, believing it would give them a chance to cobble together trade packages to acquire Kevin Durant.
As much as Durant asking out hangs over the Nets, there’s also the reality that four years on his contract will mean he has little, if any, voice on when or where he would be traded. This would be a small-market team’s dream, robbing a goliath of an MVP-level talent whose contractual circumstances would leave him little choice but to play for them," Wojnarowski reported.
Durant, Irving sounded like they would return for 2022
After the Nets' season ended with a first round sweep versus the Boston Celtics, Irving sounded confident he would be a Net next season. "There's no question about where I'm going and how this is going to happen," Irving said shortly after the Nets' season ended.
"I'm here with [Durant], but also I'm here to build a great team. I've averaged this many points, done this many things. Individually, been recognized for my greatness, but at this point in my career, I really just want to be part of a great team.
And just dominate that way and not really focus on any individual accolades and achievements. Just really build something special -- that's my focus going into the summer is just building with my teammates." Both Durant and Irving signed with the Nets in the summer of 2019 but three years have passed and they haven't accomplished their goal of bringing a championship to Brooklyn.
The Nets still have one of the most talented teams in the NBA but they could very easily lose both of their stars if Irving decides to leave.