In ESPN’s free agency special Tuesday, Adrian Wojnarowski said Kyrie Irving has “gravitated over time” to the Nets and that Brooklyn could use his commitment to recruit other free agents, starting with Kevin Durant.
Here’s the video...
Bill Reinhardt tweeted out the key quotes...
Woj: “With Kyrie, the reason he has gravitated over time to Brooklyn is the infrastructure that’s in place there.”— Billy Reinhardt (@BillyReinhardt) June 25, 2019
Mentions Spencer Dinwiddie, Caris LeVert, Joe Harris, and Jarrett Allen as core pieces that are attractive to Irving.
Woj: “Brooklyn’s in a great position here to get a commitment from Kyrie Irving and then use that to pursue KD or perhaps another free agent.”— Billy Reinhardt (@BillyReinhardt) June 25, 2019
Woj, who was joined by Zach Lowe and Bobby Marks on the special, said the Nets dream ticket has always been Irving and Durant ... and that the Nets are prepared to sign KD to a four-year max deal, even with his ruptured Achilles, which according to reports will keep him out the full season.
And while the plan was to pair the two -- “The idea of Kyrie as a solo act has not been what this plan has been” — he and Lowe said they believe that even without Durant, the Nets are prepared to move ahead with only Irving, although Lowe suggested the organization would probably be divided. The Nets are reportedly concerned that Irving, without Durant, would pose chemistry issues similar to those reported in Boston this past season.
If KD doesn’t follow Irving, Woj said, “I don’t think the Nets want to max out any other star free agents besides KD and Kyrie,” but added that Tobias Harris could provide a temptation.
Bobby Marks, laying out what ESPN called the “Battle for the Soul of New York,” was asked by Hannah Storm what’s the “most enticing destination for these free agents?” He quickly responded, “Brooklyn!” pointing out the Nets advantages over the Knicks in a side-by-side comparison...
Side-by-Side: A complete breakdown of the roster in Brooklyn and New York heading into free agency. The battle of the double max slot. pic.twitter.com/PfUr1uRmkI— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) June 25, 2019
Woj also hinted that the Nets big competition for Durant was not the Knicks, as had been rumored for months, but instead, his current team, Golden State.
Woj: “(Warriors) have a better case to make (to Durant) post injury than pre-injury.”— Billy Reinhardt (@BillyReinhardt) June 25, 2019
Woj dispels the notion that KD and his camp have had a break down in trust with Golden State. Says they’ve been communicating.— Billy Reinhardt (@BillyReinhardt) June 25, 2019
And as more than one viewer noted, the panel spent a lot more time dealing with the Nets —who if successful would be adding two of the NBA’s top 10 players— than the Knicks.
I think it’s notable that Woj/Lowe spent very little time talking about the Knicks in their free agency special and took a big chunk of time out to discuss the Nets. That’s the way things are moving. #JustSayin— Billy Reinhardt (@BillyReinhardt) June 25, 2019
As for D’Angelo Russell’s future, Woj conceded it may back to L.A. and the Lakers, who famously gave up on him two years ago only to watch him star in Brooklyn.
Woj says D’Angelo Russell going back to the Lakers is a real possibility and they’d be getting a better, more mature player after he went to “finishing school with Kenny Atkinson and Sean Marks.”— Billy Reinhardt (@BillyReinhardt) June 25, 2019
Earlier Tuesday, Woj reported that “I’m told that Russell will have an open mind to returning to LA” and Rachel Nichols got Scottie Pippen to pick between Irving and Russell.
Pippen: If KD comes, Nets would rather have Kyrie than Russell https://t.co/PhcaTUBX82— NetsDaily (@NetsDaily) June 26, 2019
And ESPN wasn’t the only outlet talking Nets. In his podcast, Bill Simmons talked to Marc Stein about “Brooklyn’s big NBA summer takeover”...
NEW BS PODCAST!— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) June 25, 2019
—@TheSteinLine on Brooklyn’s big NBA summer takeover, more Knicks pain, Kemba’s next move + July FA predictions.
—@drbill1947 and I talk ourselves into the post-Kyrie Celtics.
—Michael K Williams on life after Omar and When They See Us.https://t.co/NPEglaI1Pe
DLo has said he’d prefer to return to Brooklyn, prefer that the Nets keep last year’s team mostly intact. But both those possibilities are increasingly remote, with Allen Crabbe and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson already gone and Ed Davis suggesting that money will be the big determinant in his decision-making.
- Nothing can scare Nets from their Kyrie Irving fate - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Sean Marks and the Nets are in the endgame now - Stefan Bondy - New York Daily News