Latest On Nets, Kyrie Irving, D’Angelo Russell

For several weeks, many of the NBA’s most plugged-in reporters have penciled in the Nets as Kyrie Irving‘s probable landing spot, and that still appears true, sources around the league tell ESPN’s Zach Lowe. Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (video link) conveys a similar sentiment, suggesting that – of the two New York teams – the Nets are the significant favorites over the Knicks for Irving.

However, as Lowe notes, the Nets’ preference has long been to pair Irving with a second star, with Kevin Durant widely assumed to be that second star. Now that Durant is set to miss 2019/20 due to an Achilles tear and his free agency intentions remain uncertain, Brooklyn must weigh whether Irving would be worth a substantial investment on his own, Lowe writes.

Irving’s projected maximum salary ($32.7MM) is more than $5MM higher than Russell’s ($27.25MM), but he’s also the better player, and most executives who spoke to Lowe agree that Kyrie is the better value if both players get max deals — even taking into account his potential to shake up the Nets’ locker room. However, if Russell’s new deal comes in at a few million below the max, those execs aren’t quite as sure that Brooklyn should opt for Kyrie over D-Lo, according to Lowe.

Here’s more from Lowe on the Nets and Russell:

  • The Suns are in the market for a point guard and Devin Booker has advocated for Russell, who is a close friend. However, Lowe hears that “other voices within the Suns” may not be as enthusiastic about pursuing Russell.
  • Sources tell Lowe that there’s “at least a kernel of truth” to rumors of the Lakerspotential interest in a Russell reunion. L.A. still has a lot to sort out though, Lowe cautions. The Knicks, meanwhile, are likely to pursue shorter-term deals if they strike out on this year’s elite free agents, meaning they likely wouldn’t be a suitor for Russell, says Lowe.
  • If the Nets don’t end up landing Irving or Durant, re-signing Russell and adding a second-tier free agent like Tobias Harris would be another potential path for the franchise. However, Lowe writes that Brooklyn won’t want to risk locking itself into a “pretty good” roster and is more likely to swing for the fences.
  • Lowe’s prediction: If Irving wants to come, the Nets will sign him with or without Durant, and will figure out the rest later.
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21 thoughts on “Latest On Nets, Kyrie Irving, D’Angelo Russell

  1. noraj9

    unless the Lakers offer blows everyone else out of the water and you’re DLo, why in the world would you want to go back to LA?

    • TheTruth12

      You can make almost the same statement for any star with the Lakers, why sign a max deal to play with a 35 year old Lebron, AD on a 1 year deal and???? IF things don’t go as expected (which is likely) and AD leaves in FA they’re left with old man Lebron and nothing. The future in LA is not bright.

      • noraj9

        While that’s an extremely valid statement, I’m sure you know that’s not exactly what I was getting at. Short term aside, why would DLo want to return to LA where he was essentially shipped off as what they deemed an immature bust.

        • jkoms57

          DLo is an elite shooter, he alone would make the Lakers unguardable.

          He should be their top target.

        • noraj9

          Could be very true, I don’t care if he has turned into MJ and Kareem’s basketball love child, I still wouldn’t want to come back to LA if I were him.

        • x%sure

          James haters are always waiting to pounce! I doubt Russell factors in a James decline, wished for by some, or even James as much as Davis. James might rank 7th as a factor, but if he does sign there, Russell will say the things expected… not say that Dinwiddie is recruiting Irving darn him.

    • Black Ace57

      This. Does everyone remember how disrespectful Magic was when talking about Russell after trading him? They should give him a public apology before being considered.

    • JonnyLucas

      Because it’s still the premier market and presents the best opportunity to elevate his national profile and maximize his earnings. They will be on national tv seemingly every game… that’s why he would want to go back.

  2. doug.daniel243

    Mark my words: Kyrie to Brooklyn is a terrible idea. Jarret Allen literally just came out a few days ago and talked about how chemistry was the Nets reason for success. Nobody will kill that chemistry quicker than Kyrie. He’s an absolute pain to deal with and the Nets would be far better off with DLo instead. They should go after DLo and Harris and stop trying to screw up the chemistry they have with diva star players.

    • victorg

      @DOUG
      could they resign DLO and bring in Butler and Harris? or maybe Butler and Randle ?

      • doug.daniel243

        I would say DLo for sure and beyond that maybe one of Butler, Harris, or Randle, I don’t think they get more than 1 of those 3.

    • jkoms57

      Agreed.

      Nets are crazy if they choose Kyrie over DLo.. Lakers will gladly add him.

    • x%sure

      Irving so far has been surrounded by teammates he did not pick and were not that friendly. He can choose now and be chosen. It will work out.
      Russell has gotten a lot of mileage out of a half-year salary drive.

  3. phenomenalajs

    During the season, I was 100% behind D’lo over Kyrie with Durant. That doesn’t seem possible. Now, with Durant’s injury and my PTSD as a Mets’ fan, I’m on the fence about going for it anyway. I do think Kyrie will prove everyone wrong and buy into the culture. I’m not averse to keeping Russell and signing Kyrie. Timing of decisions is important. I think Durant’s decision to opt out and the Nets’ decision to give D’lo a QO that would put a hold on some of the cap have the same deadline of 6/29. Also, teams can’t legally talk to the players before 6/30, so an educated guess will be needed.

    • Q/O’s can be withdrawn (with a renounce) prior to their being accepted. That shouldn’t be hard, as DR is unlikely to accept it at all, let alone prior to KD making his decision.

      • Yep it is

        Cryree “ buying into the culture”? He hasn’t done it in 8 years and he won’t change now.

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