The Brooklyn Nets get one swing at this and they are going to wait for their pitch.
After the initial rush of trade offers for Kevin Durant did not meet their standards, and no bidding war ensued, the Brooklyn Nets have chosen to be patient and wait for the market to come to them. It’s the same on the Kyrie Irving front, where there is only one serious bidder — the Los Angeles Lakers, offering a complex deal around Russell Westbrook — and no reason for the Nets to move fast.
Which has led to one of the greatest counter spins in the history of counter spins from the Kyrie Irving camp, as told to Brian Lewis of the New York Post — Irving wants to stay with the Nets.
“How did we get into this situation about trade, when he opted in?” the source [close to Irving] asked rhetorically. “Here is the situation. He opted in, which means he had and he has every intention of playing with the Brooklyn Nets. KD decides he wants out and now everybody is talking about trading Kyrie, right?
“Kyrie has not asked for a trade. Now, if the Nets don’t want him, that’s something totally different. Kyrie has not said he wants a trade. He opted in. [So where did] the trade conversations come from? Is it because, KD requested a trade and now everybody’s like let’s trade Ky? Kyrie opted in.”
Irving has operated with all the subtlety of a Michael Bay film this offseason. He only opted in after trying to find a sign-and-trade — Irving gave the Nets a list of teams where he wanted to go — and finding there was no wide market for his services after the disruption he caused in Boston and now Brooklyn. At least there were no trade offers that satisfied both the Nets and Irving. Meanwhile the relationship between Brooklyn and Irving got “acrimonious.” Irving has been in Los Angeles this offseason (which is not uncommon for him or other players) working out and all the buzz is about how he wants to be a Laker.
The spin that Irving opted in because he wants to be part of the Nets’ future is laughable.
However, his trade market, and that of Durant, is stalled. The buzz among team executives NBC Sports spoke to in Las Vegas for Summer League is that the Nets would be patient. This is a negotiating position, but executives believe the Nets may go into training camp with Durant and Irving still on the roster.
“This could be a negotiating position, or it could be a smart decision if you don’t like the trade offers that you have,” Windhorst said. “The market for Durant has not been as lucrative as the Nets were hoping, and the market for Kyrie is very thin. It’s essentially the Lakers and the trade offer isn’t great. If you don’t like what you have, do you just sort of close ranks and look at restarting it?”
Steve Bulpett at Heavy.com has league executives echoing the same thing.
“Everybody would love to have him [Durant],” one general manager told Heavy Sports, “but almost no one has enough to get him. And I’ll bet you right now that the team that does get him will have to get a third team involved to make the trade work. Brooklyn is asking for more than really anyone can give. I’m not sure if anyone will meet their price, but I guess they’re hoping someone will get creative and get them the quality player — or players — and picks they want.”
“We’ve talked to them, and they don’t seem to be in any hurry,” [another executive] said. “They’re not panicking, which is very smart.”
The Nets are willing to let things play out. At this point in the summer, teams are in a honeymoon phase with their rosters and are optimistic about how things will play out. The reality of training camp and games blows up that fantasy for most teams, and maybe that’s what the Nets are willing to wait for — reality to hit and teams to realize they need to get Durant to make a title run.
For now, the Nets are being patient. It’s a negotiating position, but one they don’t need to change. Brooklyn only gets one swing at this.