Report: Kyrie Irving to Sign 4-Year, $141M Contract with Nets, Join Kevin Durant

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJune 30, 2019

Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving gestures during the first half of Game 3 of the team's NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Indiana Pacers, Friday, April 19, 2019, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Darron Cummings/Associated Press

Kyrie Irving will become a member of the Brooklyn Nets, and he's bringing some friends with him. 

Per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Nets are going to get commitments from Irving, Kevin Durant and DeAndre Jordan. 

Wojnarowski added Irving's deal will be worth $141 million over four years and Durant will receive $164 million over four years. 

Irving, 27, spent the last two seasons with the Boston Celtics after requesting a trade from the Cleveland Cavaliers. While Irving verbally committed to re-signing in Boston before the 2018-19 season, a frustrating campaign overrun by in-fighting led to his departure.

Irving made the All-NBA second team for the first time in his career, putting together his best individual season (23.8 PPG, 6.9 APG, 5.0 RPG). He was efficient, played better defense than he ever has and at times looked like the second-best point guard in basketball behind Stephen Curry.

The on-court brilliance was, however, overshadowed by a bristly relationship with media and his teammates—particularly the Celtics' young core. Expected to compete for an NBA championship, the Celtics got out of the gate slow and never recovered. They finished a disappointing 49-33 during the regular season amid a sea of team meetings and Irving's own admission he wasn't a great leader. 

"There's been a lot of emphasis on the wrong things," Irving told ESPN's Jackie MacMullan in May. "People make it as if basketball is the most important thing in our lives. So, you [deal with] the money and expectations and all the things that come with being in a professional environment.

"I fought all that this season. It's not about having everything if you don't have the happiness of playing the game."

Throughout the season, Irving's commitment to the Celtics waned. Rumors of his departure grew louder as the lost year wore on. Irving himself told reporters, "I don't owe anybody s--t" when talking about his free agency. By the time the year ended, it was seemingly accepted that he would leave Boston.

The only question was to where.

The New York Knicks had been considered among the favorites to land Irving for months. While many presumed New York was the front-runner, the Nets moved up Irving's rankings with organizational competence and a long-term plan. Brooklyn also made moves, including trading Allen Crabbe, to get under the cap and have two max slots available.

Most presumed that was to make a run at Irving and Kevin Durant. When Durant ruptured his Achilles in the NBA Finals, which could force him to miss next season, it seemed like those plans had gone awry. 

The Nets don't seem to have any concerns about Durant's ability to return at a high level, whenever he gets back on the court. 

Irving has the opportunity to lead the franchise in Durant's absence, though Jordan also brings a strong veteran presence to help shoulder the load. 


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