Nets, Kyrie Irving in a dead end; the latest in Miles Bridges; NBA Draft Notes


With the NBA Draft three days away and free agency just around the corner, trade talks, signings and searches for all 30 teams have begun in earnest. Across the league, the top free agents — and potential free agents — are being monitored: Chicago’s Zach LaVine, Washington’s Bradley Beal, Philadelphia’s James Harden, Phoenix’s Deandre Ayton, Charlotte’s Miles Bridges, Dallas’ Jalen Brunson, Anfernee Simons of Portland and more.

But one of the most anticipated free agency situations involves Brooklyn’s Kyrie Irving, who has a June 29 deadline for his $36.9 million player option for the 2022-23 season. However, multiple sources say the athletic that talks about Irving’s future have stalled between him and the Nets. There is currently an impasse between the parties that clears the way for the seven-time All-Star to consider the open market, those sources said.

Irving joined the Nets along with Kevin Durant in the summer of 2019, though Durant missed their first season together while recovering 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 before injuring his ankle in a series against the Bucks. After last season, in which he played just 29 games and missed most of the season’s home games due to his decision not to comply with New York City’s vaccine mandate, Irving made it 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 shot 40.4 percent of his 3-point attempts in three seasons with Brooklyn, but has appeared in 103 of 216 regular-season games.


“I don’t really plan on going anywhere,” Irving said April 25 after the Nets finished the season with a first-round sweep of the Celtics in the Eastern playoffs.

Nearly two months later, it appears both sides have a lot of work to do to find a resolution that will bring Irving back to Brooklyn and his co-star in Durant, who is under contract with the Nets through 2025-26. Several teams around the league have been aware of 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 say. the athletic.

For the Lakers, the likely path to acquire Irving would be for him to opt to facilitate a trade, because the Lakers can’t realistically clear salary-cap space to sign him themselves, and a sign-and-trade would trigger the hard cap, which would make acquiring Irving significantly more difficult. If Irving opted in, Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka would have to abide by the collective bargaining agreement’s salary matching rules, meaning if Irving’s $36.6 million was the only incoming salary , the Lakers could send between $29.3 million and $45.8 million to the Nets and/or a third team in a legal transaction.

For the Knicks, the likely path to acquire Irving depends on what the Nets prioritize. New York is on par with the salary-cap line for 2022-23, so it could clear enough room to sign Irving to a max contract by offloading salaries like Evan Fournier, Alec Burks, Nerlens Noel and Kemba Walker. But the Knicks could also offer some or all of those players to the Nets or a third team in a possible sign-and-trade.

For the Clippers, the likely path to getting Irving requires him to opt-in, because they are significantly above the luxury tax line and the hard cap for 2022-23. To satisfy the salary match, the Clippers would need to send between $29.3 million and $45.8 million to the Nets and/or a third team if Irving is the only salary offered. The Clippers’ scenario is less complicated than the Lakers’, as the Clippers have a number of players earning between $11 million and $17 million to work with. For example, two or three of Norman Powell, Marcus Morris, Luke Kennard and Reggie Jackson all meet CBA trade rules, and they also have a collection of young players like Terance Mann or Brandon Boston that could help sweeten the deal.

A possible departure of Irving would be incredibly detrimental to the Nets given their limited ability to replace him and their cap space should Irving sign elsewhere as a free agent. A more likely path to any exit would be through a sign-and-trade. Brooklyn owes $111 million to six players in 2022-23, not including Irving, so even completing the list on minimum salaries would put the Nets over the projected salary cap of $122 million for next season. If Irving leaves, Brooklyn’s strongest path to adding talent would be the $10.3 million mid-tier full exception. Irving is also eligible for a new deal by exercising his player option and extending his contract from there, which could net him a starting salary of $45.2 million for 2023-24.

For the Nets, Irving’s free agency fate is one to watch as the NBA Draft and free agency approach.

More NBA news and notes

atlanta falcons

Hawks free-agent guard Lou Williams intends to continue his playing career, his agent Wallace Prather says. “(Williams) is not seeking retirement, and I will be proactive in talking to teams during free agency,” Prather said. Williams, a 17-year veteran, averaged 6.3 points and 14.3 minutes per game in 56 contests last season.

charlotte hornets

Rival executives expect Hornets restricted free agent Miles Bridges to get a maximum, or near-maximum, deal in July, and sources said Charlotte is hesitant to match a maximum sheet. Bridges had a breakout season in 2021-22, averaging 20.2 points, seven rebounds, and 3.8 assists per game. In a league that saw wings like Golden State’s Andrew Wiggins and Boston’s Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown make game-changing impacts on their run to the NBA Finals, Bridges’ two-way ability on the wing has become incredibly valued. to win.

Cleveland Knights

Cavaliers restricted free agent Collin Sexton has been cleared for full basketball activities, sources said. Sexton had surgery in November to repair a torn meniscus and made a full recovery on the eve of entering free agency. Rival executives believe Sexton’s market could reach the $20 million per year range.

Indiana Pacers

The Pacers are seriously discussing trades centered on Malcolm Brogdon and Myles Turner, sources said. The Wizards and Knicks are interested in Brogdon, armed with the 10th and 11th picks respectively, sources said. The Hornets have expressed interest in Turner, those sources said. Still, Indiana, which has the No. 6 pick in the draft, could choose to continue reshaping its core of veterans rather than completely rebuild around young players.

minnesota timber wolves

The Timberwolves have discussed deals around veteran centers, including Atlanta’s Clint Capela, sources said.

kings of sacrament

The Kings are increasingly comfortable drafting at No. 4 in Thursday’s draft and have outlined a high price for teams behind them in the lottery trying to trade, sources said. Sacramento GM Monte McNair has struck up talks about Hawks forward John Collins among a host of other established and productive players on the market, but there has been no involvement of the No. 4 pick in the focused discussions. at Collins, and McNair will. ultimately make the decision on the selection, according to sources.

utah jazz

Sources said the Jazz are scheduling a second interview with nearly all of their 15 head-coaching candidates as the next step in the process.

The 15 head-coaching candidates are: Knicks assistant Johnnie Bryant; current assistant Alex Jensen; Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin; Celtics assistant Will Hardy; Bucks assistant Charles Lee; heat assistant Chris Quinn; Mavericks assistant Sean Sweeney; Celtics assistant Joe Mazzulla; Pistons assistant Jerome Allen; 76ers assistant Sam Cassell; G League Head Coach Jason Terry; former Lakers coach Frank Vogel; and former Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts.

note draft

• Auburn’s Jabari Smith, who trained and met with the Magic (No. 1) and Thunder (No. 2) during the pre-draft process, is a virtual lock to be in the top two in the draft. He remains one of the favorites to go to No. 1.

• Kentucky’s Shaedon Sharpe is the mystery man of the NBA Draft. Sharpe is a projected high lottery pick, and sources say he has put in heavy group workouts such as three-on-three and four-on-four games to showcase his ability for teams that haven’t seen him play organized basketball for the past year or two. . Rather than hold individual workouts, Sharpe sought out competition, training for teams between the draft ranks of Nos. 1-13.

• G League Ignite’s Michael Foster will end up coaching for 15 teams, with his 6-foot-9 frame and expected next-level versatility making him a sleeper candidate in the draft. In 13 games for the Ignite last season, Foster averaged a team-high 14.8 points and a team-high 8.7 rebounds per game.

(Photo: Winslow Townson/USA Today)