Nets played with fire. Now, they’re about to burn – The Mercury News

just like The Daily News reported back on May 25Nets are playing with fire. And now, about a month later, they’re about to burn.

We already know that the Nets are set to offer Kyrie Irving a long-term contract extension, after playing just 103 regular-season games in her first three seasons at Brooklyn, and following her decision not to vaccinate against COVID-19. are not. 19 ruined Nets’ championship hopes last season.

We also know that Kevin Durant’s future is intrinsically tied to the decision of Irving and the Nets. If Irving and the Nets can’t come to an agreement that keeps the superstar guard in Brooklyn, Durant, who signed a four-year, $198M extension last summer, is likely to request a trade from the franchise that will take his Failed to keep co-star. in city.

Now, according to ESPN, we know Irving wants to be traded in the event he and the Nets can’t come to terms: for either the Lakers, Clippers, Knicks, Heat, Mavs or 76ers. Neither of those teams has the cap space to sign Irving, should he decline his player option with a June 29 deadline and trial free agency. And only two of those teams (the Lakers and the Heat) have a star-caliber player (Russell Westbrook and Kyle Lowry) who can pair with the Nets Durant.

That means we’ve hit the danger zone: The Nets traded the rights to all of their likes until 2027, and Ben Simmons is having back surgery and hasn’t played basketball in an entire calendar year. If the Nets can’t come to an agreement with Irving and Durant requests a trade, it’s back to the 20- and 28-win seasons from which Brooklyn emerged. It’s back in the lottery chasing a ping-pong ball with picks that don’t belong to them. It’s back to irrelevance. It has of late returned to develop the first round and second round draft. It’s back to the jokes about having no fans, as season-ticket holders are already threatening to boycott Nets games because of rising ticket prices for franchises that don’t star very well. can be.

Or, the net can grow out of it. They can break out of this ego trip and give Irving the deal he wants. They can offer him a four-year maximum deal, or a three-year deal with a game-playing incentive that triggers guaranteed funding in years four and five. In May, a source requesting anonymity due to the nature of the talks told The Nets that Irving was looking to opt for $36.5M in the final year of his contract to “prove” that he was a long-term partner. deserves the deal. For a star player with a very real injury history, a one-year deal is a non-starter. It is unclear if the Nets have moved on to the one-year stance and offered more years, but given reports that the Nets and Irving have reached an “stalemate” in contract negotiations, it is reasonable to assume. Is that contract length is the sticking point of discussions.

The best position for Brooklyn remains with Irving being offered a long-term deal and living and dying with him while chasing the championship in the borough for the next four years. Rarely in NBA history do two players as talented as Irving and Durant join forces in their prime. If the front office doesn’t find a way to retain Irving longer, rarely does a franchise falter those stars in the way the Nets are positioned.

It is nearly impossible to find an alternate reality that gives the Nets an equal or better chance of winning the championship. And if the Nets play more hardball and don’t agree to a sign-and-trade with Irving’s team of choice, he can go to free agency and sign the maximum contract with the team with the cap space (the Spurs). , Pistons, Magic and Pacers could free up enough space for Irving to sign a max deal) with an agreement that they are traded elsewhere in exchange for draft assets and young players after the December 15 ban.

Here’s a friendly reminder: Even though Irving’s $36.5M comes off the books, the Nets still don’t have the cap space to sign a maxed-out free agent, or any impact player, who’s mid-level. gives more orders than exceptions. It will be Durant and Simmons and the roleplayers – who will eventually become just Simmons and the players who need to evolve.

The other side of that coin is a future that includes Durant, Irving, Simmons and whatever extra player the Nets think makes this team a contender. If Simmons is healthy—and after a year and a half off basketball, he should be—the Nets could have the best trio in all of basketball. They can use their Three Traded Player Exception to get other teams’ influence players, then also use their Treaded Player Exception to get a key signing. Daily News reported on Wednesday The Nets are among the teams interested in signing Durant’s friend PJ Tucker.

One thing is certain: Tucker isn’t coming to Brooklyn if Irving isn’t there, as it becomes increasingly clear that if Irving isn’t in town, Durant can’t be either. And if Durant is gone, everything Nat has made.

Championship aspirations. Dedicated, growing fan. I believe this organization can get the job done. In three years, he hasn’t.

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