Report: ‘Strong’ mutual interest between Kyrie Irving and Nets, who also want to sign Kevin Durant

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The Nets boldly asserted themselves in the free-agent market, agreeing yesterday to a trade that allows them to open double-max cap space.

How will Brooklyn spend that available money?

Kyrie Irving is clearly one target. The other is apparently Kevin Durant.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Boston guard Kyrie Irving — who is expected to become a free agent — and Brooklyn have a strong mutual interest, league sources told ESPN.

Brooklyn’s dream scenario is to lure Irving and Golden State’s Kevin Durant to the franchise, league sources said.

The Knicks are pursuing the same partnership, but league sources say that Irving’s interest in the Nets has increased and Brooklyn has emerged as a serious contender to attract Irving.

There’s suddenly a lot of momentum behind Irving joining the Nets. He remains enigmatic, and he can’t sign until July. But there’s a lot of smoke around this.

Irving and Durant have been viewed as a potential package deal for a while. Most speculation centered on the Knicks. It’s less clear whether Durant would go to Brooklyn.

Of course, two huge variables remain before Durant hits free agency: Will he play in the NBA Finals? Will the Warriors win a title? Either experience, or the lack thereof, could shape his thinking.

Even after trading Allen Crabbe and two first-round picks for Taurean Prince, the Nets still don’t project to have quite enough cap space to max out Durant and Irving. But the exact salary cap won’t be determined for a few weeks, and Brooklyn can still clear other salary if necessary.

If they settle for Irving and a less-experienced co-star – like Jimmy Butler or Tobias Harris – the Nets already project to have enough cap room.

But Irving and Durant are apparently the top targets.