Starting with the James Harden–Ben Simmons trade in February, the Brooklyn Nets have seen their whole “big 3” core completely crumble in less than two seasons. First with Harden heading to Philly and now with Kevin Durant, who reportedly wants out of Brooklyn after only a few seasons in the Big Apple.
During an appearance on ESPN’s NBA Today, Stephen A. Smith claimed that no matter where Irving lands this offseason, his ultimate goal is to head to L.A. to team up with LeBron James again, this time on the Lakers.
“Kyrie Irving is telling everybody he plans on going to LA meaning the Lakers, as soon as he possibly can,” Smith said Thursday. “When he becomes a free agent after this season is over, he plans on rejoining LeBron James in a Lakers uniform.”
"Kyrie Irving is telling everybody he plans on going to LA meaning the Lakers, as soon as he possibly can… When he becomes a free agent after this season is over, he plans on rejoining LeBron James in a Lakers uniform."@stephenasmith on Kyrie Irving 👀pic.twitter.com/W3FYbAMX3w
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) June 30, 2022
This is quite the bombshell considering most believe Irving wants to continue playing with Durant, just not in Brooklyn. According to multiple reports, the top picks on Durant’s list of teams he wants to be traded to are the Miami Heat and the Phoenix Suns.
Irving was first rumored to potentially do a sign-and-trade deal with the team giving him permission. However, he decided to opt into his player option, which led even the biggest Kyrie skeptics to believe the All-Star point guard will be playing one more season with the Nets.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, both Durant and Irving have not had contact with the franchise after Irving signed his player option, adding that whether the two decided to part ways and head to different teams, both players have likely played their last game with the Nets.
Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving had no contact with the franchise after Irving opted into his deal on Monday, and a sense of inevitability existed that Durant would eventually ask for a trade, sources tell ESPN. It happened today.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 30, 2022
“Everybody’s in play in Brooklyn, certainly. I think it’s very likely that not only Kevin Durant but Kyrie Irving have played their last games for the Nets,” ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said Thursday on NBA Today.
“They’ve wanted to play together, they want to continue to play together, but the sense is they don’t want to do it together in Brooklyn anymore.”
It will certainly be interesting to see where both players land. Knowing Irving’s mindset, it will be hard to predict exactly what his overall plan is. Only time will tell.