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IMPASSE! Kyrie Irving, Nets at a negotiations standstill, perhaps clearing way for him to leave

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NBA: Playoffs-Brooklyn Nets at Boston Celtics Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The Kyrie Irving era may be ending.

Shams Charania reports Monday morning that Irving and the Nets are at an “impasse” in their negotiations over a new contract “clearing the way” for Irving to pursue the free agent market.

The report could also be an attempt by one side or the other to signal that it is now crunchtime to get things done between the Nets and Irving. Shams has been used by Kyrie’s camp in the past to highlight Irving’s position.

Later Monday, Shams was on the Pat McAfee Show and toned things down a bit...

In an Athletic report filed shortly after the tweet, Charania laid out more details.

[O]ne of the most anticipated free-agency situations involves Brooklyn’s Kyrie Irving, who has a June 29 deadline on his $36.9 million player option for the 2022-23 season. However, multiple sources tell The Athletic that conversations about Irving’s future have gone stagnant between him and the Nets. An impasse currently exists among the parties that clears the way for the seven-time All-Star to consider the open marketplace, those sources said.

Irving joined the Nets along with Kevin Durant in the summer of 2019, though Durant missed their first season together as he recovered from a torn Achilles tendon. Irving made the All-Star team in 2020-21 and helped lead the franchise to the Eastern Conference semifinals alongside Durant and James Harden prior to an ankle injury in a series against the Bucks. After the past season, in which he played just 29 games and missed most of the season’s home games because of his decision not to comply with New York City’s vaccine mandate, Irving made clear that he intended to return to the Nets in the summer and continue to build with Durant and newcomer Ben Simmons. He has averaged 27.2 points, 6.1 assists and 3.9 rebounds per game and made 40.4 percent of his 3-point attempts in three seasons with Brooklyn, but he has appeared in 103 of 216 regular-season games.

Charania also discussed interest in Irving from other teams, most prominently the Lakers, Clippers and Knicks.

Several teams across the league have kept tabs on the situation, wondering about the future of Irving and Brooklyn.

The Lakers, Knicks and Clippers are expected to be among the interested suitors if Irving heads elsewhere, multiple sources tell The Athletic.

In all situations, a sign-and-trade appears to be likely, Charania added, although not necessary if Irving acted as an unrestricted free agent. Problem is there are few teams with enough space to take on Irving’s contract without a sign-and-trade, perhaps a multiple team deal.

Charania discussed possible scenarios for the three teams, all of them speculative. He did not mention a Russell Westbrook exchange in his reporting. But in speculating about a Clippers deal, Charania seemed to indicate the market for the talented if mercurial Irving would be great.

For example, two or three of Norman Powell, Marcus Morris, Luke Kennard and Reggie Jackson going out satisfies the CBA’s trade rules, and they also have a collection of young players like Terance Mann or Brandon Boston who could help sweeten the deal.

Of the three, only the Knicks have first rounders, the No. 11 pick, in Thursday night’s Draft.

Charania described Irving departing as a free agent the world case scenario and “incredibly damaging” to the franchise.

A potential Irving departure would be incredibly damaging to the Nets because of their limited ability to replace him and his salary slot should Irving sign elsewhere as a free agent. A likelier path to any departure would be via sign-and-trade. Brooklyn owes $111 million to six players in 2022-23, not including Irving, so even filling out the roster with minimum salaries would put the Nets over next season’s projected salary cap of $122 million. If Irving bolts, Brooklyn’s strongest path to adding talent would be the full $10.3 million midlevel exception. Irving is also eligible for a new deal via exercising his player option and extending his contract from there, which could land him a starting salary of $45.2 million for 2023-24.

Brian Lewis quoting “league sources,” laid how the Nets could construct a multi-team sign-and-trade to avoid teams like the Lakers and Clippers avoid being hard-capped.

In a multi-team sign-and-trade, those getting players under contract won’t get hard capped. That means if Irving opts in and then immediately gets rerouted, it opens up the Lakers, Clippers, etc. as viable landing spots. That makes it the most likely scenario if he gets moved, according to league sources.

In the past year and a half, Marks has orchestrated both a four-team deal — when he brought in James Harden in January 2021 — and a five-team deal — when he sent out Spencer Dinwiddie in August of last year.

The Nets declined to comment. An hour after Shams tweeted the news, Irving tweeted this...

The man in the GIF is Brother Mouzone, a notorious, drug dealing character from The Wire who often got his way but felt betrayed by those he worked for.

Reaction to the news brought out a variety of responses from NBA pundits, including this from PTI’s Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon...

And this from Stephen A. Smith and Kendrick Perkins ...

At one point, Smith reported this about Irving’s relationship with Steve Nash...

“You know what I found out, Kendrick Perkins? You what I’ve been told?,” he told Perkins. “Did you know that this brother, Kyrie Irving, last season would conduct his own practices? So Steve Nash had the team on the floor practicing, they would finish and he’d go and get five guys and conduct his own practice!”

“He conducted his own practices after Steve Nash conducted his practice. Do you any idea how disrespectful that is to the players? Do you have any idea that is how disrespectful that is to Steve Nash?”

Smith provided no details such as whether the practices were team-sanctioned as part of Irving’s return to play after his long layoff.

Charania’s report follows one by Jake Fischer last week in an online chat with Eddie Gonzalez of Boardroom

“I’ve been working on the assumption that all three — Kevin, Kyrie, Ben Simmons — will be there for the start of training camp. However, there’s a lot of talk about Kyrie,” he told Gonzalez. “Definitely some talk about whether they are going to figure out a long term relationship.”