The trade rumors around Kyrie Irving appeared to get more serious on Monday with the start of free agency in the NBA just a few days away.
According to multiple reports, the Brooklyn Nets allowed Irving to seek sign-and-trade options as contract extension talks between the two sides stalled. But his options are limited. The Los Angeles Lakers appeared to be the best destination when it comes to salary-cap issues.
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The New York Knicks have “no real interest” in pursuing Irving while the Los Angeles Clippers are said to be in “wait-and-see mode,” The Athletic reported.
Irving could pick up his $36 million player option for next season, which would be one pathway for his departure to go, which would in theory result in a sign-and-trade. However, he could not pick up his option and sign with another team. The New York Post noted he could join the Lakers on a $6 million deal using the mid-level exception.
According to ESPN, only the Lakers have an interest in executing a sign-and-trade with the Nets.
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Kevin Durant is also a threat to leave the Nets should Irving walk. The two joined Brooklyn as a package at the start of the 2019 season but have only yielded one playoff-series victory.
On Friday, Durant opened up about the Irving situation a bit and said he won’t be getting involved.
“There’s no involvement at all. I mean, I can’t be involved with … this is this man’s livelihood, you know?” Durant told “The ETCs” podcast. “This is much bigger than me. Being a free agent is one of the most important times in your career. That can’t be swayed by anybody else. I just do me and wait for the time.
“There’s nothing that can happen right now. I don’t think he can even make a decision on opting out until the 29th, I think. So I just kinda let things play out and see what happens. Keep the regular contact with Ky, and we’ll see what happens. It’s something that’s so much out of my control that I don’t want to be a part of it. We’ll see what happens though.”
Durant reportedly has “advocated” for Irving and the Nets to work out a long-term deal, but a number of teams are ready to pursue a trade for him if he becomes available.
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Irving was asked by Complex about whether he wanted to stay with the Nets but pointed to his agent and stepmom Shetellia Riley instead.