Kyrie Irving still wants the Nets. They still want him. And Kevin Durant wants them both. For now.
The NBA draft — being held Thursday at Barclays Center — has always held plenty of intrigue, with Nets general manager Sean Marks having made a deal within 48 hours of draft night every year since his arrival. But right now for Brooklyn, all the drama isn’t about picks or rookies, but Irving and his contract negotiations.
Amid reports that Durant could become disgruntled if Irving leaves and demand a trade himself, the all-important question is can they all find a common ground, a happy medium to stay together. And between all the posturing and bluffing, it’s the question that’s going to have to get sorted out over the next week or so. Irving has until June 29 to pick up next year’s $36 million option.
Irving wants a longer contract, and can only get a full five-year max deal from Brooklyn. But due to his unpredictability and unavailability — he’s played just 103 regular-season games since arriving, due to personal leaves, injuries and vaccine refusals — the Nets seek to protect themselves with a shorter deal.
Kevin Durant high-fives Kyrie Irving before Game 4 of the first-round playoff series against the Celtics.NBAE via Getty Images
There’s a lot of gray area between the two.
ESPN suggested a two-year deal with a raise up to $42 million was on the table. And…