Kyrie Irving’s search for leverage on his contract discussions with the Brooklyn Nets won’t be found with the Threat of a $ 30 million pay cut to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers, but the sum of the franchise’s Deepest Fears: Irving Walks, and Kevin Durant wants a trade.
For everything owner Joe Tsai and general manager Sean Marks did to assemble one of the modern NBA’s most talented Big 3s, Irving’s impenetrable connection to Durant looms as a domino to the dismantling of the roster. Brooklyn is straddling the narrowest of walkways: Keeping Conviction on Irving’s contract talks and keeping Durant’s desire to stay on the Net.
The organization clearly wants Irving on a Shorter deal, whether it’s his $ 36 million opt-in for the 2022-23 season – or perhaps an opt-out and new deal that could give him a raise to $ 42 million annually on a two-year deal.
Together, Tsai and Marks made a stand on Irving’s unwillingness to get vaccinated, initially Refusing to let him be a part-time player – only to allow him back again Midway through the 2021-22 season. In these Irving contract talks, the Nets are trying to take back a measure of leverage on a star who hasn’t been available nearly enough in his three seasons.
How far do the Nets push and leave themselves open to the organization’s Greatest Vulnerability – an Irving exit resulting in Durant deciding the roster is no longer Talented enough for Championship contention?