With so much uncertainty surrounding the Brooklyn Nets, the once chaotic Kyrie Irving situation has gained some clarity.
In a recent report, The Athletic’s Shams Charania quoted an insider saying: “Kyrie Irving, he opted into his contract, he’s committed to the Nets… He’s been doing everything behind the scenes. When you think about leadership, he’s worked out with teammates… I think what you’re gonna see from Kyrie Irving is a level of high professionalism.”
While this report from Charania would have made sense if it were coupled with the news that Kevin Durant had rescinded his trade request, it is perhaps somewhat unexpected to hear of Kyrie’s commitment despite Durant’s adamance on leaving.
As Charania also noted, part of Kyrie’s commitment is by default. In the last year of his contract, and having little interest across the league outside of the Lakers, Kyrie recognizes the situation he is in.
Confirming that Irving’s commitment to the Nets is not tied to Kevin Durant, Charania said, “Him and Kevin Durant are very close, this is something that everyone knows. I think at the end of the day, whatever Kevin Durant wants to do… [Irving] is always going to support Kevin Durant as a friend and his happiness. But as far as where this leaves [Irving] and the Nets, whether Kevin Durant is traded or not, Kyrie Irving has an opportunity to still be a Net.”
Does this change anything?
With the expectation at one time being that both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving would seek new homes this summer, does the news of Kyrie Irving’s commitment to the Nets change Durant’s situation? The likelihood is that it does, but perhaps not in the way that many would expect.
While some would likely wonder if Kyrie Irving’s commitment to the Nets could sway Durant to rescind his trade request, the relationship between Durant and Brooklyn seems to be irreparable. Despite that, Irving’s commitment could impact how the Nets approach Durant’s looming trade request.
With one of the most public, and certainly most prominent deals for Durant being the Jaylen Brown package in Boston, a committed Kyrie Irving could make a Brown, Irving, and Ben Simmons combo attractive to the Nets. Brown recently revealed to NBC Sports Boston’s Abby Chin that he and Irving have smoothed what was once a complicated relationship.
“Off the court, me and Kyrie might have started off with a lot of bumps in the road,” Brown said. “But as of lately, Kyrie is somebody that I’ve connected with, somebody that I would call a friend, a brother, somebody that calls me to pick my brain at this point, and it wasn’t like that when we played together. We bumped heads a lot. It’s funny now through hindsight, Kyrie talks to me, hits me up all the time and our relationship has grown a lot since then.”
With the on-court fit of Jaylen Brown, Kyrie Irving, and Ben Simmons being one that should solidify an Eastern Conference playoff spot, the Nets could still compete next year if they take Boston’s offer for Durant.
Without a committed Kyrie Irving, such a reality does not exist; however, with the star point guard now believed to be all-in, perhaps the Nets will move forward with the Jaylen Brown deal.