The Brooklyn Nets are trying to secure a point guard of the future and perhaps more once free agency opens, it seems.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Nets are moving toward a max deal that would pay the All-Star Irving $141 million over four seasons. Not only that, but adding Irving is part of a two-fold plan to by the Nets to also attempt to secure All-NBA forward and former Finals MVP Kevin Durant, Wojnarowski reports.
Per Wojnarowski, Durant is interested in the Nets and is expected to speak with them this week. Wojnarowski isn’t the only one reporting a seeming Irving-Nets bond on the horizon as Greg Logan of Newsday also reports multiple NBA sources are calling Irving’s move to Brooklyn a “virtual certainty”. Logan also reports the Nets are planning to talk with Durant, too.
After trading for D’Angelo Russell and seeing him become a 2019 All-Star, Brooklyn is more than likely going to move on from him if Irving does indeed sign with the Nets. Wojnarowski and Logan both report the Nets are unlikely to bring Russell back with Irving in the fold. Per Wojnarowski, the Nets would likely work with Russell and his agents to help facilitate his way to a new team.
The Nets on Friday made a qualifying offer to Russell to maintain his restricted free-agent rights. That move, per Logan, was done as a defensive measure should Irving have a last-minute change of heart. The qualifying offer can be rescinded to clear cap space for a second high-end free agent.
Irving, who recently switched to Jay-Z-founded RocNation for representation, averaged 23.8 points, 6.9 assists, 5.0 rebounds and 1.5 steals for Boston last season. Russell, the former No. 2 overall pick in 2015, blossomed after being traded from the Lakers in 2017. The 23-year-old guard averaged 21.1 points, 7.0 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 1.2 steals en route to the Nets’ first postseason appearance since 2015.
Per Wojnarowski, Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka reached out to Russell’s agents to set up a meeting to discuss a possible reunion with the team that drafted him. Russell’s suitors include the Minnesota Timberwolves, who were reported to have set up a Sunday meeting with the free-agent point guard. Wojnarowski also reports that the Lakers have already contacted Russell’s representatives to set up a meeting. Indiana and Phoenix are also known to be seeking upgrades at point guard.
If the Nets are unable to secure Durant and Irving, they must find a power forward with 3-point shooting skills. Per Logan, the next choice for Brooklyn might be Philadelphia 76ers forward Tobias Harris and perhaps also Marcus Morris, Julius Randle or one-time Nets forward Thaddeus Young.
A parting of ways between Irving and the Celtics didn’t seem likely in October, when the point guard grabbed the microphone at a fan event in Boston and said “if you guys will have me back, I plan on re-signing here.”
His plans apparently have changed since then.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.