Why Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving Should Run It Back With Nets Amid Trade Rumors

Joe TanseyJune 27, 2022

Elsa/Getty Images

The Brooklyn Nets are the most fascinating team to watch during the NBA offseason.

They could bring back Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving for another run at a championship, or the current roster could implode and the franchise returns to square one.

At the moment, the latter situation is at the forefront of everyone's minds given the recent rumors about Brooklyn's two superstars.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported that Irving has a list of teams he would prefer to go to if he can't come to terms with Brooklyn, while Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium noted Durant is "monitoring the Nets situation and considering options with his future."

As we know from previous seasons, anything is possible when it comes to superstar movement in the NBA, especially if they no longer want to be in a single location.

The reality with Durant and Irving's situations is that few teams can practically trade for them and afford them on their payrolls.

The two players have to be the right fits for a new team's direction as well. You can't just add them to the Los Angeles Lakers roster and make them the favorite to win the NBA Finals. There are other high-quality teams with established superstars that are better positioned to win it all and have been on deep playoff runs together.

As intriguing as a set of trades would be for the neutral fan, the Nets are best suited to keep their two superstars and make some roster additions around them to contend for a championship.

A fully healthy Brooklyn team would be one of five true contenders in the Eastern Conference alongside the Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks, Miami Heat and Philadelphia 76ers.

At full strength, the Nets would have Irving and Durant in the starring roles, Ben Simmons as a distributor and top defender, Joe Harris and Seth Curry providing additional shooting, and Cameron Thomas adding scoring off the bench.

Brooklyn would have to figure out its center situation, but that could be solved with the addition of a veteran on a low-cost contract to partner with Day'Ron Sharpe as he continues to develop.

The Nets would need to fill in their depth beneath the starting five, but they could have one of the best shooting lineups in the NBA with Durant, Irving, Harris and Curry on the floor at times together.

It would be much easier for the Nets to run it back with Durant and Irving and add depth pieces around them than to give up on their title hopes this offseason.

Of course, there is always the possibility Durant and/or Irving believe the relationship between them and the franchise is too fractured to fix, but then potential suitors have to be lined up.

The Lakers are the obvious destination for any superstar because they could use a change from Russell Westbrook next to LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

Westbrook, in his current offensive state, would be a downgrade for the Nets to get in return for Irving. Adding the 33-year-old to a lineup that includes Simmons or Durant would give Brooklyn too many primary ball-handlers.

If the Nets were to trade Irving and hold on to Durant, they would, in theory, like to have a big man in return because of the state of their current roster. A straight swap for Westbrook may reunite him with Durant, but it will not serve much basketball practicality.

Wojnarowski mentioned the Los Angeles Clippers, New York Knicks, Miami Heat, Dallas Mavericks and Philadelphia 76ers as other teams Irving has interest in, if he did move on from the Nets.

The Clippers, Heat and 76ers do not make much sense because of their current roster configuration. The Knicks would be intriguing because they are in desperate need of a superstar, but they can't offer much in a trade and may have their sights set on Jalen Brunson in free agency over a complex trade for Irving that may mortgage their NBA draft future.

Dallas might work as a landing spot for Irving, but parts of his skill set are the same as Luka Doncic's and he would not be the man in that lineup given how much the 23-year-old Slovenian has evolved in his short time in the NBA.

Brooklyn is the most sensible spot for Irving to play next season, and it may be the only place where he can play given the roster configurations of other championship contenders.

It is hard to imagine Durant would jump ship if Irving stays because it also gives him the best chance to contend for a championship for next season and beyond.

As long as the Nets can mend the relationships behind the scenes with their two star players, they are a few role players away from having one of the best rosters in the NBA.

The next few weeks will be crucial for Brooklyn to sort everything out, but it would be ideal for all parties to come together and focus on winning a title for another season.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.