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Begley: Nets ‘highly unlikely’ to keep D’Angelo Russell if they sign Kyrie Irving

NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Orlando Magic Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

In a story published Friday night, SNY’s Ian Begley reports that if the Nets sign Kyrie Irving, it is “highly unlikely” that D’Angelo Russell will stay with the Nets.

Begley writes...

If Irving signs with the Nets, SNY sources familiar with the matter say it is highly unlikely that Russell remains with the Nets. Members of the Nets organization have communicated that idea in recent days, per sources.

However, league sources tell NetsDaily that the Nets remain “fluid and flexible” and denied that the Nets had communicated with DLo “in any way” regarding the consequences of an Irving signing.

Whether DLo and Irving can play together has been the source of NBA debates with most national pundits suggesting it “can’t work,” “won’t work.” However, both Anthony Puccio and Brian Lewis wrote last month that the Nets believe they can make it work and Sarah Kustok said this week that Kenny Atkinson sees the two as playmakers at heart. (Lewis has also quoted the two players’ high school coach as saying he believes the two can play together “1,000 percent.”)

Moreover, DLo liked an Instagram posting that showed Russell and Irving jerseys side by side.

In his story, Begley also reported that while Irving seems to be leaning toward Brooklyn, he has not informed other teams they are out of it.

As of late this week, teams interested in pursuing Kyrie Irving remained under the impression that the Nets were the odds-on favorite to land the point guard, per sources. But no team interested in Irving, including the Knicks and Lakers, had been led to believe that they are out of the running to sign him, those sources say.

Of course, due to the vagaries of the collective bargaining agreement, it would be difficult to keep DLo and sign two max free agents. Indeed, the Nets cleared cap space eight days ago by trading Allen Crabbe and two first rounders for Taurean Prince and a second rounder.

Free agency begins June 30 at 6:00 p.m.