An ESPN report in October indicated that the Nets were willing to take calls from teams asking about Kyrie Irving, but weren’t making calls themselves. According to Ian Begley of SNY.tv, Brooklyn has maintained that approach during the past several weeks. Even though the Nets are willing to listen to inquiries on Irving, his trade value is down at this point due to his season-long absence, so making a deal may not be in the team’s best interest.
Begley also follows up on reports from The Athletic and The Philadelphia Inquirer stating that James Harden is among the Sixers‘ trade targets. Sources tell Begley that even before those reports surfaced, people with the Nets organization were aware that Philadelphia “loomed as a potential suitor” for Harden.
As we’ve noted before, the Nets are extremely unlikely to consider a Harden trade during the season, and all indications are that he wants to remain in Brooklyn going forward. But he does have the ability to opt out in 2022, so if the Nets’ season turns south, the Sixers could emerge as a more viable threat.
Here’s more on the Nets:
- With Harden off to an up-and-down start this season, Michael Pina of SI.com attempts to determine whether the 32-year-old’s inconsistency can be attributed more to an early-season slump or the start of a career decline. With Harden up for another maximum-salary contract in 2022, he’ll be highly motivated to recapture his All-NBA form.
- Joe Harris‘ ankle injury pushed rookie Cameron Thomas further up the depth chart, but the Nets don’t want to have him take on a bigger role until he’s fully ready for it, according to Brian Lewis of The New York Post, who says the organization is happy with Thomas’ development so far. “If his role grows it’s more on his continued development than on our necessity, because that’s too much of a burden to throw at him,” head coach Steve Nash said.
- Two years removed from his Achilles tear, Kevin Durant is averaging 35.8 minutes per game, his highest mark since his Oklahoma City days. As Nash acknowledges, the team would prefer not to play Durant that much going forward. “It’s not ideal to have him have such a burden,” the Nets’ head coach said, per Lewis. “But I don’t know what options we have other than to play him less and lose more. He’s a great player, and we’re down a great player (Irving) and a really good player (Harris) and a few others. So I don’t know if we have the luxury right now.”
- For his part, Durant said he feels good and would love to play all 48 minutes every night if the Nets would let him, as Lewis relays. “If I can convince coach to play me the whole second half sometimes and put me in earlier in quarters, I’m gonna do it,” the former MVP said. “It don’t matter. My basketball life is not that long, so I’m gonna get the most out of it.”