The NBA Draft is always insane, especially when there is something bigger going on about the NBA! Kyrie Irving, who has not come to an agreement with the Brooklyn Nets on a contract, gave Brooklyn a list of teams that he would want to be traded to on a sign and trade if they never come to an agreement according to Adrian Wojnarowski. Those teams included: the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, New York Knicks, Miami Heat, Dallas Mavericks and Philadelphia 76ers. That’s a long list, which mostly includes contending teams (no offense Lakers). But this whole situation is confusing me because there could be some major changes if this goes through. Here’s why!
The 2019 offseason was one of the craziest offseason’s in the history of the NBA. In 1 offseason, Anthony Davis joined the Lakers, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George joined the Clippers, Russell Westbrook joined the Rockets, Kemba Walker joined the Celtics, D’Angelo Russell joined the Warriors, Jimmy Butler joined the Heat and the list goes on an on. But one of the biggest moves of the entire offseason was when Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant decided to join the Brooklyn Nets. This made Knicks fans like Stephen A. Smith devastated, since it was rumored they would land with the Knicks. However, the 1 problem was that Kevin Durant had tore his achilles during the NBA finals against the Raptors, sidelining him for the entire 2020 season. Because of this, it is rumored Kyrie Irving sat out so that they could tank for a good draft pick without KD, even though Irving had also dealt with injuries throughout the season.
The at the start of the 2021 season, with Steve Nash as head coach and KD back on the floor, the Nets were championship contenders…and then some! In January which was just a few weeks after the season started, they made a blockbuster 4 team trade that involved the Nets, Rockets, Cavaliers and Pacers, which sent James Harden to Brooklyn. This monster big 3, which at the time was made up of three top 15 players in the NBA, was supposed to win championship after championship. Well with some injuries getting in their way during the 2021 playoffs, it was a 2nd round exit to Milwaukee, even though Kevin Durant was playing the best he’s ever played. Then in 2022 Kyrie didn’t get vaccinated, which sidelined him for 53 games. James Harden was also declining and didn’t like that Kyrie wasn’t playing. KD also getting injured around the trade deadline didn’t make Harden feel better either. So, Harden was flipped at the trade deadline for Ben Simmons, depth and two 1st round picks. Then once KD got healthy, Simmons still wasn’t healthy, and Brooklyn got swept to the eventual eastern conference champion Celtics.
The comes this news. The Nets have had so much unnecessary drama because of Kyrie Irving and James Harden. And now, just about a year and a half after the trade, that what was big 3 may only have one top 15 player in the NBA. Kyrie has been asking for the 5 year max contract from Brooklyn and Brooklyn wants to give him the same amount of money on average per year, but for only 3 years. But considering Irving is going on 31, he knows this will be his last long term contract. The problem is even if Irving doesn’t deserve that 5 year max contract, it doesn’t matter. Because if Brooklyn is not able to keep him, than they can’t replace him since they have no cap space. However, what if they do a sign and trade like he would want, since the teams he wants to go to also don’t have the cap space to sign him. Well, that would’t get Brooklyn major assets. When they did a sign and trade with Spencer Dinwiddie last season, they only got 2nd round picks. I get Dinwiddie isn’t Irving. But, Washington just got Kristaps Porzingis for Dinwiddie at the trade deadline.
So, what happens if Kyrie isn’t there and Brooklyn can’t replace him. Well, I don’t think a top 15 player of all time (Kevin Durant), is going to want to stay with his #2 as someone who hasn’t played since July due to “personal reasons”. KD could demand a trade! Now, as a Wizards fan if this does happen, I’m going to be spamming #kdcomehome (since Durant is from DC). However, that is not likely to happen. But he could go to a team like the Blazers, who have cap space and could give Brooklyn so many draft picks.
However, what is the likely hood of Durant leaving? Actually, very high if Irving is gone. Right now, the Lakers are the favorites to land Irving if he does not stay in Brooklyn. Te Lakers would probably include Russell Westbrook as a part of that trade. And KD would not want to play with Westbrook again, and as I mentioned the Nets roster around him. So if Irving leaves, I don’t see a world where Durant doesn’t. But what is the likely hood of Irving leaving? I don’t think it’s as high as people are saying. I think now that the Nets realize Irving is highly considering leaving, they’re going to pay him. As I mentioned, they have no choice. Even if they let him go, at most get one 1st round pick for him and then get 3 or 4 with major young assets for KD, those picks won’t be very valuable, since both of those players are going to be traded to good teams if they are. And considering Brooklyn only holds two 1st round picks between now and 2027, they have no choice, or it will be a long 10 year rebuild!
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