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Woj: Kyrie Irving likes Nets ‘infrastructure,’ is ready to recruit Kevin Durant

NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Boston Celtics David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

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, 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...

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.

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.

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.

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.

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”...

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.