A lot has happened since Kyrie Irving put the Brooklyn Nets in a very untenable situation with his anti-vaccination stance. Before the entire anti-vax fiasco, Nets GM Sean Marks was very sure about the team's direction going forward.
After the Brooklyn Nets signed Kevin Durant to a four-year max extension of $198 million, Kyrie Irving was supposed to pen his $186-million extension before the start of the season.
Irving's insistence to refuse the vaccine and potentially miss all home games despite a roughly $16 million worth of penalties has caused the Nets organization to do a 360-degree turn.
According to Shams Charania, in an episode of The Glue Guys, the Brooklyn Nets are removing their contract extension offer to Kyrie Irving.
The Nets have previously been publicly supportive of Kyrie Irving since the news broke that the point guard is unable to attend all team activities because of New York City's COVID-19 requirements. The organization held on to a glimmer of hope that the All-Star would take the shot before the regular season starts.
When it was clear that Kyrie Irving would not budge on his stance, the Brooklyn Nets announced that they would not accommodate their starting point guard as a part-time player. The ownership and management were going to sideline him until he becomes a full participant in all team activities.
Where do the Brooklyn Nets and Kyrie Irving go from here?
The Brooklyn Nets' status as favorites to win the crown will not be as strong without the all-NBA talent and skill of Kyrie Irving. With Kevin Durant and James Harden leading the team, it's not like the Nets will be crippled. However, Irving's potential departure would be a big blow to their title chances, particularly if one of the remaining Big Two suffers an injury.
The rumors of Irving's threats to retire severely complicated the Brooklyn Nets trade options. However, the 29-year-old has already publicly stated that he's not retiring or leaving the game, giving the Nets a glimmer of hope.
Ryan Gisriel, the Brooklyn Nets' President of Basketball Operations, and GM Sean Marks are under no illusions about what they can get out of a possible Kyrie Irving trade.
Although Irving has already stated that he's not retiring, the Nets are still likely doomed to a superstar-less return if they trade Irving.
Who can possibly be the Brooklyn Nets trade partner involving Kyrie Irving?
Kyrie Irving's bizarre decisions hardly put value on his words. Although he recently announced that he is not retiring, NBA team executives will be hardpressed to believe those words.
If Irving stays true to his word and keeps playing, teams are unlikely to offload a ton of talent to acquire the eccentric point guard. For one, the player has a solid history of missing games for personal reasons without informing the front office despite hefty fines.
The uncertainties of the pandemic will also caution any team from trading for Kyrie Irving. Who's to say that other cities besides New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles will not adopt more restrictive measures to secure the safety of the public? If the city that recently acquired Irving implements new health protocols, it will become a vicious cycle no team executive will be a part of.
The more immediate difficulty in acquiring Kyrie Irving from the Brooklyn Nets is his contract status. If traded and he plays for another team, Irving could be a very expensive one-year rental. The Duke alum has the option to become a free agent next season. No team would willingly trade significant assets for a quick romp with Irving.
Should the Brooklyn Nets want to maximize Kevin Durant's and James Harden's window, they should just trade Kyrie Irving for a bunch of solid role players. The salaries of a bunch of those role players will add up to make the trade possible.
In a fantasy world with no COVID-19 restrictions, the Nets should just straight-up trade Kyrie Irving to the LA Lakers for Russell Westbrook and reunite Oklahoma's former Big Three in the Big Apple. The Lakers will see a reunion of James and Irving leading the team to the NBA Finals.
A Brooklyn Nets-LA Lakers NBA Finals with Kyrie Irving amid all the hoopla would be a match made in heaven.
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