Brian Lewis, quoting a source close to Kyrie Irving, says the Nets guard has “every intention” of playing in Brooklyn next season, with or without Kevin Durant. In addition, the Post reporter writes that the Nets and KD’s camp have been in touch.
“How did we get into this situation about trade, when he opted in?” the source asked rhetorically. “Here is the situation. He opted in, which means he had and he has every intention of playing with the Brooklyn Nets. KD decides he wants out and now everybody is talking about trading Kyrie, right?
“Kyrie has not asked for a trade. Now, if the Nets don’t want him, that’s something totally different. Kyrie has not said he wants a trade. He opted in. [So where did] the trade conversations come from? Is it because KD requested a trade and now everybody’s like let’s trade Ky? Kyrie opted in.”
Indeed, the two superstars’ futures have been lumped together with the assumption that the Nets are looking for trade partners for both. Much of the rumors center on an Irving deal that would send the guard to the Lakers in return for Russell Westbrook and draft compensation. (In the latest rumors, from Jovan Buha of The Athletic, the Nets want two first rounders while the Lakers have countered with one first and one second rounder.)
“Kyrie wants to play. … He wants to win a championship, and he wants to play,” the source told The Post, adding of the Durant situation, “I think when KD said he wanted a trade, he didn’t say I’m going to trade to where Kyrie goes.”
Lewis also talked about the state of the Nets relationship with Durant, who requested a trade on June 30, one day before his four-year, $198 million contract kicked in. At the time there were reports that Durant had not spoken with the Nets front office in weeks.
Durant largely went dark after that, not responding to other stars reaching out trying to gauge his interest in teaming up with them. But the Nets worked alongside his business partner Rich Kleiman in trying to facilitate a deal — but neither side closed the door on a potential return to Brooklyn.
Now, Lewis — and Stefan Bondy of the Daily News — say there is contact between Team Durant and ownership/management of the franchise.
So far, Brooklyn has gotten a plethora of offers, but none to its liking. The Nets are seeking a young All-Star and a trove of picks — like four first-rounders and swaps — in return for Durant. But, of course, convincing him to stay is preferable.
With all the relevant parties in Las Vegas — including the owners’ meetings Tuesday night — Nets general manager Sean Marks and owner Joe Tsai can sit down and talk face-to-face with whomever they need.
Lewis suggested that indeed with no trade for Durant on the horizon — and with NBA GMs headed out on vacation after Summer League — cooler heads might prevail.
Lewis’ story and Bondy’s tweet follow Ian Eagle’s podcast Monday also indicating that there is some hope for running things back for the 2022-23 season.
,[W]ith each day that goes by, I think there’s a greater chance that the two sides might find some common ground,” Eagle said on a Canadian podcast, “might determine that it’s in the best interest of both sides to play this out for a year , the length of Kyrie Irving’s contract, see if they can win a championship with the group that they’re assembling, then go back and re-examine whether or not this is something that’s worth a revisit.”
As we’ve noted, none of the key players — Durant, Irving, Sean Marks and Joe Tsai — have publicly said anything that would prove an impediment to re-opening what is an intertwined dialogue. Of course, there’s also been no detail on why Durant wants to be traded in the first place nor how things got to this stage.
Lewis also asked NBA Commissioner Adam Silver his opinion of the KD decision to ask for a trade before his extension even kicked in.
Asked Adam Silver his reaction to Kevin Durant’s trade request: “There’s always conversations behind closed doors between the players & the representatives of the teams. But we don’t like to see players requesting trades & we don’t like to see it playing out the way it is.” #Nets
— Brian Lewis (@NYPost_Lewis) July 13, 2022
Silver added, “Its one of those issues that as we move into this collective bargaining cycle – we intend to discuss with our players association and see if there are remedies for this…We don’t want to see it playing out the way it is now.”