When Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving decided to team up a few seasons ago, both of them envisioned championship parades and success. Instead, it has been the complete opposite and the Nets have yet to even go farther than the second round of the playoffs. Now, rumors are swirling that Kyrie Irving may test free agency due to himself and the team coming to a halt in contract talks.
The Nets seem to be fed up with Irving and his off the court antics. He missed a ton of the games this season due to his decision to not get the COVID-19 vaccine. It ended up hurting the team as when the playoffs rolled around, the team looked like they hadn’t played together all year. The chemistry seemed off and now his time in Brooklyn may be coming to an end. The Nets have a big decision to make whether they pay him or move on.
Teams that will likely be interested in the star point guard are the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, and New York Knicks among others. Irving wants to win and is a person that wants to decide his own fate on the basketball court. Now the two Los Angeles teams make some sense for Irving as he has connections all over the place. With the Lakers, he has the LeBron James connection and with the Clippers, they are coached by Ty Lue.
For the Clippers, it could be an easier path to acquire the services of Irving as they have multiple players making decent money that could be sent out for Irving. However, with the questions surrounding Kawhi Leonard as he comes back from injury, would the team be willing to gamble on another questionable star? Nobody questions the talent of Irving but his motivation and devotion to the game of basketball have come up recently. The Clippers could make the trade and pair Irving with Leonard and George, making a very strong trio.
For the Lakers, it’s a little more complicated because they don’t have the assets out right to sign him in free agency, nor many players that the Nets would likely want back. However, they can either turn a trade into one involving other teams around the league or send out Russell Westbrook to Brooklyn. Now why would the Nets want Westbrook? They probably don’t but anytime a team can acquire a player with a $47 million expiring contract can be seen as a good thing. The Nets would gain a massive amount of money after this season to spend on other free agents and trades. Westbrook also has some familiarity with Kevin Durant and the two could try and recreate their Oklahoma City days.
This situation with the Lakers is unlikely but the Lakers have a Westbrook problem, and the Nets have an Irving problem. The two sides could come together to find a solution and even if Los Angeles shipped Westbrook elsewhere, the Nets could get other players back in a multi-team trade. It will be interesting to see how this Irving situation plays out but something is for certain, there is a very real chance that Irving suits up in a different jersey when the season begins.