“I think it’s going to take at least a few days to flush everything out.” – Adrian Wojnarowski.
That seems like an understatement. Woj was talking Friday about what the Nets can get for Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in trade talks. The Nets want a lot and of course they should ask for a lot but whether they get a lot is the open question. Sean Marks has some leverage: these are potential Hall of Famers we’re talking about BUT everyone on the other side of Marks phone knows the Nets GM is in a bad place. Still, they are ready to deal.
“There has been ‘tremendous ferocity’ in the Brooklyn front office surrounding the Durant trade talks, Woj said overnight. “One team made an initial offer to the Nets and then called back with an improved trade offer for Durant.”
The advantages in getting something for KD are obvious. He is a generational talent maybe the best player in the game and a top 15 player all-time. He is also big box office. Despite injuries and age, he has put up some of the best numbers in his career while in Brooklyn. More importantly, he is under contract through 2026. Of course, he is also 34 and has lost a full season and six weeks of play in the past three years due to injuries to his achilles and MCL.
Still, there are reports that virtually every contender has some interest with Phoenix and Miami the names on KD’s preferred list. The Nets have apparently made it clear they will try to work with Durant on getting him to a place where he’s comfortable, but there’s also no guarantee that will be the case. In both Phoenix and Miami, there are going to be issues. The Nets want Devin Booker, but he signed a new deal with Phoenix Thursday and they are reportedly not interested in DeAndre Ayton. Phoenix, however, has ALL its picks.
Bam Adebayo has a so-called designated rookie deal with Miami as does Ben Simmons with the Nets. The CBA does not permit teams to have two such players under contract. Further afield, there are other names, like those of Brandon Ingram of the Pelicans and Jaylen Brown of the Celtics. The Bulls are also prepared to make an offer. None of those three teams are in Durant’s (known) list but other than any residual good will he has with Joe Tsai, he has little to no leverage. He has no player option in his contract.
Irving is different. He is, as Michael Wilbon said, “toxic.” There seems to be only one likely suitor, the Los Angeles Lakers, and they want to off-load Russell Westbrook’s $47.1 million on the Nets along with some draft compensation. Westbrook, who had a disappointing season at age 33, is an expiring deal so he could give the Nets some time on the court, then cap room at season’s end, which could be crucial since the Nets will be in the repeater tax in 2023-24.
Irving no doubt prefers the Lakers. They were at the top of the list when he gave the Nets his list of landing spots before he opted in and ended the possibility of a sign-and-trade.
But Brian Windhorst reported Friday that the Nets are not interested in taking on extra money — as they would have to in an Irving-for-Westbrook swap. And they will not accommodate him, period.
“The Nets don’t know what they’re trading Kevin Durant for,” said Windhorst. “They may not want to do a trade with Kyrie Irving that takes on money. You may take on a bunch of money when you do a Kevin Durant trade. You don’t know what your books are going to look like…
[T]he Nets have no interest in accommodating Kyrie Irving. They have no interest in doing it. If it comes up maybe a three-team trade or a four-team trade to get the Nets satisfied with what they want. To get them maybe a start. To take draft picks from Phoenix and reroute them somewhere else… Kyrie might get thrown into that four-team trade just as salary ballast. He’s going to be used as a tool to help the Nets.”
Also, there are reports that no one on the Nets is safe, that Marks and Tsai willing to do a complete rebuild if necessary. Durant’s deal will likely take place first since Brooklyn will have multiple offers to sift through for him.
“I think Kyrie is going to have wait this out because we’re not going to really know what the Nets are going to want to trade him for until we see what Kevin Durant gets traded for,” said ESPN’s Windhorst.
How long? One would assume the Nets will want things settled soon, but not so soon that they need to be desperate. There’s no rush. Training camp doesn’t begin till the end of September, three months from now. What might accelerate things is that NBA GMs get together next week for the Summer League in Las Vegas. The games will present less drama than the meetings.
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