Kevin Durant is considering his options amidst Kyrie Irving free agency drama, per Shams Charania of the Athletic. According to Shams, this could open a way for Kyrie to leave Brooklyn and continue elsewhere.
On June 20, Charania broke the news that Irving and the Brooklyn Nets are at an “impasse” over his future with the franchise, clearing the way for him to “consider the open marketplace” as a free agent.
Sources: Kevin Durant is monitoring the Brooklyn Nets’ situation and considering options with his future.
This now opens the path for Kyrie Irving to proceed on finding a new home via opt-in and trade.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 23, 2022
The Nets can offer Irving north of $40 million annually on his next contract. Kristian Winfield of The New York Daily News reported on May 24 that Brooklyn is “outright unwilling to give Irving a long-term extension,” noting his injury history.
Obviously, the Nets are not willing to offer a long-term max deal to a player that appeared sporadically in the NBA courts the last two seasons. Irving signed a four-year, $141 million contract with the Nets in 2019 that includes a $36.9 million player option for the 2022-23 season.
If Irving decides not to pick up that option, he will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason. Durant signed a new deal with the Nets mid-season and have four full seasons in Brooklyn worth $194 million.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Thursday that Irving would want the Nets to pursue sign-and-trades with multiple teams, including the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers and New York Knicks
ESPN Sources: If Kyrie Irving can’t reach an agreement to stay with Brooklyn, he has a list of teams he’d like them to consider on sign-and-trades, including Lakers, Clippers, Knicks, Heat, Mavs and 76ers. None of those teams have cap space to sign him without Nets’ help.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 23, 2022
Durant joined the Nets alongside Irving, but remaining in the team without the veteran star guard does not make sense for the superstar forward. Durant may seek a way out if Kyrie does not resign with the Nets.
Former Charlotte’s head coach emerges as a candidate for coaching vacancy
The former Hornets coach Steve Clifford has emerged as a candidate to return to the team as their head coach, NBA writer Marc Stein reported this week. (h/t hoopshype). According to Stein, there’s mounting buzz for the veteran head coach.
Charlotte job remains open in the wake of Golden State Warriors assistant coach Kenny Atkinson’s backing out of an agreement. He coached Charlotte for five seasons from 2013 to 2018.
He compiled a record of 196-214 (.478) but did lead the team to their most recent playoff berth in 2016. Mike D’Antoni was appeared as the latest favorite to win the stakes and take over the Hornets’ bench.
However, the Hornets might back out from hiring the former Rockets head coach in the name of familiarity. Clifford is the polar opposite from D’Antoni as a defensive minded coach.