ESPN: Nets 'Hopeful' to Convince Kevin Durant Not to Request Trade If Kyrie Leaves

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVJune 27, 2022

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Even if the Brooklyn Nets do lose Kyrie Irving this offseason, they will make an effort to keep Kevin Durant with the organization.

ESPN's Zach Lowe explained the Nets' plans Monday on Get Up (conversation begins 4:15):

"The Nets are optimistic still, hopeful at least, that if it comes to this with Kyrie they can go to Kevin and say, 'We still got Ben Simmons, we'll trade Kyrie for some good players, we can have cap space as soon as next summer, stick with us," Lowe said (around the 6:20 mark). "That's going to be their selling point anyway."

Irving has until Wednesday to exercise his $36.9 million player option for next season, but there is reportedly an impasse between the guard and the Nets, per Shams Charania of The Athletic.

According to Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News, Irving has requested and received permission to speak to other teams about a sign-and-trade.

Durant, meanwhile, is reportedly "considering options with his future" amid the Irving buzz, per Charania.

The two All-Stars joined the Nets together in 2019, although they have had limited time together on the court because of injuries and Irving's refusal to get vaccinated amid New York City's COVID-19 guidelines. Durant has played 90 regular-season games in two seasons after missing all of 2019-20, while Irving has 103 appearances, including just 29 last season.

With Irving potentially on his way out, there is a chance Durant has also played his last game for Brooklyn.

"I'm not going to put a percentage number on it, but it's not zero and it might be significantly higher than zero depending on how this Kyrie thing unfolds," Lowe said on Get Up (around the 5:20 mark).

Lowe added that while virtually every team in the NBA will have a meeting about Durant, the Nets would only make a deal if there is "a blue-chip young player that can be the centerpiece of a trade."

Durant remains under contract through 2025-26 and the Nets can remain a title contender even without Irving.

Ben Simmons didn't play at all in 2021-22, but he is an impact player when on the court with three All-Star selections and two first-team All-Defense honors. If he is healthy next year, he could be a perfect complement to Durant's elite scoring ability.

Seth Curry and Joe Harris are also under contract and could help the team win next season, while Patty Mills has until Wednesday to exercise his player option.

Durant must determine if this is enough to stick with the organization or try to force his way out through a trade.


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