Kyrie Irving, Nets at impasse; outlook improves for future draft picks

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With Houston controlling Brooklyn’s first-round NBA draft assets through 2027 as part of the blockbuster James Harden trade from January 2021, so any uncertainty involving the Nets is a boon for the Rockets.

In addition to having the No. 17 pick in the 2022 NBA draft from the Nets, Rockets general manager Rafael Stone also owns first-round swap rights from Brooklyn in 2023, 2025, and 2027, along with two more picks that will directly convey in 2024 and 2026. That’s what makes Monday’s news involving Kyrie Irving and the Nets so intriguing.

Via Shams Charania of The Athletic:

One of the most anticipated free-agency situations involves Brooklyn’s Kyrie Irving, who has a June 29 deadline on his $36.9 million player option for the 2022-23 season. However, multiple sources tell The Athletic that conversations about Irving’s future have gone stagnant between him and the Nets. An impasse currently exists among the parties that clears the way for the seven-time All-Star to consider the open marketplace, those sources said.

Charania mentioned the Los Angeles Lakers, Clippers, and New York Knicks as potential suitors for Irving in the 2022 offseason.

None of those three teams have significant salary cap room at the moment. Thus, the likely scenario is that should Irving choose to leave Brooklyn, the Nets would likely receive something in a sign-and-trade or opt-in-and-trade arrangement, rather than literally nothing.

However, in an NBA that values quality over quantity, it’s unlikely that the trade return would be equal to Irving’s on-court value — at least not in terms of a superstar pairing with Kevin Durant and title potential.

Should Irving leave only a few months after Harden did in February 2022, that would leave Kevin Durant — who turns 34 years old before next season — as the lone proven superstar in place with the Nets. It would seem quite possible that such an arrangement may not mesh with his desires to compete for championships in his waning prime years.

There’s still a ways to go, of course. And it’s certainly possible that Irving and the Nets could eventually resolve the current impasse.

But as of today, from the perspective of the Rockets, the outlook for those future Brooklyn draft assets continues to improve.


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