Kyrie Irving demanded a trade from the Brooklyn Nets on Friday, and details about what sparked his latest feud with the team have been leaking all day.
According to Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report, the Nets recently offered Irving a contract extension that included a championship stipulation, which Irving interpreted as a “big insult.
Haynes did not elaborate on what exactly this “championship stipulation” entailed. Earlier in the day, it was reported that Irving was upset that the final year of Brooklyn’s proposed contract was not guaranteed. If the Nets win a championship between now and then, will that final year be guaranteed?
Whatever the stipulation, Irving sees himself as the type of player who shouldn’t have to deal with non-guaranteed contract years. He’s reportedly offended that such an offer has been made. So he’s gone. At the very least, he expresses a desire to leave.
This could all be a ruse to get the Nets to agree to his desired contract in exchange for the risk of their season being ruined. It doesn’t sound like the Nets are going to be moved by such a ploy, especially with teams already hesitant to trade for Irving. We’ll see how things play out. The trade deadline is next Thursday at 3 p.m. ET. Put on your seatbelt.
Let’s play “What if?”
Fantasy basketball: How a Kyrie Irving trade could affect Durant and the rest of the Nets
What if Kyrie Irving — who has asked to be traded — gets his wish and is sent to a new team in exchange for a package of draft picks and veterans on expiring contracts?
That would indicate to me that the Nets have decided to start over. As a result, the next step would be to trade superstar Kevin Durant, who is currently injured, for another package of picks and assets to kick-start the rebuild.
In our game of “What If,” we don’t know who the Nets would bring back in one or more trades, but while we wait to see how the Nets front office will play their hand, there’s young talent already on the team worth looking at.
Ben Simmons has never fully recovered from his on-court prowess prior to his fallout with the 76ers almost two years ago. He sat out the entire season last year, first for mental health reasons and then, allegedly, for back issues. His back problems have persisted this season, but he has also clearly lost confidence in his ability to score. His 5.9 FGA would be a career low, roughly half of his career average.
But, if Kyrie and Durant were gone and the Nets had no expectations in a rebuild, could he rediscover his groove? Simmons averaged 14.9 points per game in the final 40 regular season games he played for the 76ers in 2021.
He had one game, with Joel Embiid out, where he scored 42 points on 26 field goal attempts! That Simmons hasn’t been seen in years, but in this world of “What If,” it’s possible he could make an appearance.