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Woj: Trade market for Kyrie Irving ‘dicey’ with no talks between Nets and 76ers

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In his podcast Saturday, Adrian Wojnarowski spoke about the Nets conundrum over Kyrie Irving’s future, suggesting trading the banished star might be difficult. Indeed, Woj called the market for the seven-time All-Star “dicey” while adding that there are no talks between the Nets and 76ers about a Ben Simmons-for-Irving block buster ... and he doesn’t think the Sixers will ever call.

Woj was speaking with Malika Andrews, ESPN’s former Nets beat writer and host of its new “NBA Today” show which debuts on the network Monday.

As our Alec Sturm tweeted off the podcast, Woj was not optimistic about the Nets situation, saying the organization doesn’t have much if any hope that Irving will get vaccinated.

“The bottom line is, Kyrie Irving is not vaccinated,” said Woj. “At this point he doesn’t sound as though he is about to get vaccinated to be able to return and play for this Nets team. And the Nets are preparing for the fact that’s he’s not gonna be there.”

Unless Irving gets at least one shot of any approved vaccines or the city relents on his COVID rules for indoor venues, he has been excluded by the Nets from play or practice.

Moreover, despite Irving’s contention the his stand is not about the Nets or the NBA, Woj implies there is — and has been — some anxiety about Irving’s overall commitment, suggesting that the Nets acquired Harden in January more or less as “Irving insurance” ...

Now, though, the situation has reached a crisis stage with Irving’s resistance to the city’s mandate on vaccination.

What about a trade? Again, Woj did not paint an optimistic picture...

He also basically dismisses a Simmons-for-Irving blockbuster...

Woj spoke as well about James Harden’s extension. If the Nets don’t extend him by Monday night, he could become a restricted free agent next July. Any deal he signed then would be more lucrative than we can sign now.

It’s the second time in four days that ESPN has discussed the possibility of a trade. Tim Bontemps and Bobby Marks in their FAQ on Irving’s situation Tuesday speculated about a trade of Irving’s contract to the Oklahoma City Thunder which has both the cap space to take on Irving’s huge contract and 17 first round picks over the next seven Drafts.

If the Nets do get to a point of no return, the Oklahoma City Thunder are the type of team that makes sense as a possible trade partner.

The Thunder can absorb the entire Irving contract and save Brooklyn $145 million in salary and tax penalties for this season. More important, the Nets would go under the luxury tax for this season and stop the clock as it pertains to the repeater tax penalty in the future.

The Nets would also create a $35.3 million trade exception — the largest in league history.

A trade like that would also put the Nets under the luxury tax threshold and give them other signing options. No indication from Bontemps and Bobby Marks that there’s been any interest either way.