Kevin Durant felt unfulfilled with the Golden State Warriors even after profitable two championships, incomes two NBA Finals MVP trophies, and reaching the championship spherical of the playoffs in all three seasons he spent with the workforce. Durant’s accomplishments with Golden State had been very actual, however there was at all times exterior noise criticizing his determination to hitch a workforce that had already gained a championship and was coming off an NBA report 73-win season.
So Durant left the Bay, becoming a member of the Brooklyn Nets alongside Kyrie Irving to construct one thing new. On the time, KD was coming off a torn Achilles that wiped away his first season underneath contract in Brooklyn, however he shortly returned to his outdated kind as one of many perfect gamers within the NBA as soon as he took the court docket.
Whereas Durant rediscovered his greatness, the whole lot else went improper in Brooklyn. The group traded all of their future draft picks to accumulate James Harden, however the Nets’ lone postseason run with Durant, Irving, and Harden in 2021 was marred by accidents to the latter two. When the brand new season began, New York Metropolis had handed an ordinance mandating skilled athletes be vaccinated in opposition to Covid. Irving refused to take the vaccine, and missed a lot of the season due to it.
Whereas Irving was out, Harden grew annoyed with having to hold the workforce so typically. He demanded a commerce, and was despatched to the Philadelphia 76ers for Ben Simmons and different items on the deadline. Brooklyn bought Irving again on the ground quickly after when the town lifted the vaccine mandate, however at that time the Nets’ season was already happening the tubes.
The Nets had been swept within the first spherical of the NBA playoffs by the Boston Celtics. That arrange an interesting offseason with Irving holding a participant possibility that might enable him to opt-out of his contract.
The Nets are taking part in hardball with Kyrie Irving’s subsequent contract
There may be reportedly some severe friction between the Nets and Irving, which ought to come as no shock given how typically he was unavailable final season. Irving desires a long-term max contract, and the Nets reportedly don’t wish to give it to him. In accordance with Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Nets and Irving are at an ‘deadlock’ that would open the door for him to maneuver to a different workforce this offseason.
Irving gained’t have many choices on the open market: the one groups with actual cap house are ones which might be rebuilding. If Irving wishes to go to the Lakers or Clippers, or one other massive market workforce, he’d need to take an enormous pay minimize. That’s not going to occur.
And that’s the place this all will get attention-grabbing. In accordance with ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Nets need Irving to signal a brief deal:
The group clearly desires Irving on a shorter deal, whether or not it’s his $36 million opt-in for the 2022-23 season — or maybe an opt-out and new deal that would give him a increase to $42 million yearly on a two-year deal.
If Irving refuses to take a shorter deal, he might try to power his approach out by way of a sign-and-trade. If that occurs, why would Durant — who initially joined Brooklyn as a result of he wished to play with Irving — proceed to remain in Brooklyn?
Kevin Durant commerce rumors could possibly be across the nook
Durant is ready to start a brand new four-year max contract this season that may pay him $194 million over the course of the deal. He’s underneath contract in Brooklyn, however in fact we have now seen NBA stars ask out after they notice it’s going to be arduous to win of their present scenario. James Harden did it, Anthony Davis did it, and Durant could possibly be subsequent.
Durant will likely be 34 years outdated subsequent season, however he’s nonetheless one of many perfect gamers on the planet. Durant is conservatively a top-20 participant of all-time, and doubtless larger. He’s not going to waste the final good years of his profession taking part in for a corporation with zero title likelihood. If Irving leaves, or if he indicators a short-term deal earlier than hitting the open market quickly, the window is open for Durant to demand a commerce and choose his subsequent vacation spot. All-time greats have that kind of sway.
Woj laid out the nightmare state of affairs for the Nets — which is a dream state of affairs for each different workforce: Irving’s exit resulting in a KD commerce demand.
Kyrie Irving’s seek for leverage on his contract discussions with the Brooklyn Nets gained’t be discovered with the specter of a $30 million pay minimize to signal with the Los Angeles Lakers, however the sum of the franchise’s deepest fears: Irving walks, and Kevin Durant desires a commerce.
How seemingly is it that Kevin Durant will demand a commerce?
It most likely gained’t occur this summer time, nevertheless it certain looks like it might occur sooner or later.
Right here’s a greater query: how seemingly is it that Durant retires with the Nets? His loyalty was at all times with Irving greater than with the group. In accordance with feedback made by ESPN’s Nick Friedell on SportsCenter, Durant and Irving aren’t as shut as they was.
“At each flip publicly, [Kevin Durant] has been there to help [Kyrie Irving], to say we want Kyrie, to say Kyrie can win a title with me right here in Brooklyn. However I can let you know, I’ve been speaking to folks within the group the final couple of weeks, after they lastly sit down and discuss to Kevin all through the summer time, they’re making an attempt to determine if Kevin noticed what everyone else noticed. … The rationale that entire season bought sidetracked was as a result of they couldn’t rely on Kyrie, and so they didn’t know if he was going to be on the market. And the problem with Kevin is, he desires to win badly, he desires to be loyal to his pal. However I’ve been instructed that relationship, whereas very shut, isn’t at all times as shut because it seems to be.”
One of the best ways to view the negotiations between Irving and the Nets is as a Durant tax. You pay Irving to maintain Durant comfortable, after which go from there to construct the remainder of the workforce. The entire thing crumbles if Brooklyn doesn’t have Durant’s buy-in. Even when Irving and Durant do return, the Nets nonetheless have a ton of labor to do in the event that they wish to be severe title contenders. Simmons’ ongoing again harm is simply another reason to be skeptical that the Nets can actually be a title contender subsequent yr.
Proper now, the Nets are trending down a slippery slope. It ought to come as no actual shock if it will definitely prices them Durant.