Brooklyn is believed to be Kyrie Irving‘s top choice in free agency, but Nets officials aren’t unanimous in wanting him if they don’t sign Kevin Durant as well, according to Brian Lewis of The New York Post.
Adding Irving would mean giving up on restricted free agent D’Angelo Russell, who is a younger and less expensive option and who blossomed into a star during his two years in Brooklyn.
Irving is eligible for a four-year, $141MM contract with a starting salary of $32MM, while a max deal for Russell would pay him $117MM over four years, starting at $27MM. Russell also strongly wants to stay in Brooklyn, telling Lewis he hopes to be a “Net for life.”
“If we’re being completely honest, I enjoyed the team that we had this whole season,” Russell said. “I’m not going to say I didn’t enjoy our team and the pieces we had around.”
Lewis notes that some teams expected to pursue Irving have backed away because of the turmoil that surrounded him in Boston.
With Russell’s cap hold in place, the Nets have about $46MM in cap space, but that number grows to nearly $68MM if he is renounced, enough for two max offers. Lewis adds that if they don’t land Irving and Durant, then Sixers forward Tobias Harris and Celtics big man Al Horford could be considered for those deals.