Earlier this week, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that superstar guard Kyrie Irving could be on the move this summer. A messy 2021-22 season where Irving played just 29 regular-season games has reportedly made the organization hesitant to offer Irving a hefty contract extension. With that being the case, the seven-time All-Star could look to turn down his $36.9 million player option to test the free-agent waters.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski has now elaborated on the Irving situation, clarifying that any Irving departure could have a – not-so-surprising – profound impact on Kevin Durant’s future inside the organization.
“Clearly, Brooklyn has been hesitant to do a long-term deal with Irving, but they also run the risk of alienating Kevin Durant and perhaps unfastening him from his commitment to wanting to be in Brooklyn if Kyrie Irving were to leave,” Wojnarowski said while live on Sportscenter.
Wojnarowski also wrote on Wednesday that teams are hopeful Irving will leave the franchise so they can begin to form trade packages for Durant. However, Durant’s long-term extension with the organization would certainly give the Nets plenty of leverage in that hypothetical situation, as the former MVP is currently tied to the franchise until 2025-26.
While this does feel like a potential move by Irving’s camp to simply pressure the Nets into paying top-dollar, we’re also talking about one of the NBA’s greatest wildcards. Irving has been unpredictable as they come in recent years, and we truly can’t rule out a world where he does decide to ditch the organization in favor of a new home. The mere risk of an angry Durant, though, could be all that’s needed to see Nets the Nets cave, as losing both starts would undoubtedly be a catastrophic outcome for the franchise.
If one thing is for sure, I’m rooting for that catastrophic outcome! Not only do I want the Nets out of the Bulls’ way, but perhaps Durant would like to play with his Gold Medal buddy Zach LaVine! A boy can dream, can’t he?
A lot more from Wojnarowski below: