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Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Articles tagged: Kyrie Irving

Ex-teammate Kendrick Perkins: ‘No doubt’ Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving can coexist

Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving have each had their fair share of well-documented differences with their teammates, but one retired NBA player who shared a locker room with both does not envision any of that carrying over now that they are joining forces with the Brooklyn Nets.

Kendrick Perkins, who played with Durant in Oklahoma City and Irving in Cleveland, told Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated that it will be “great for KD and Kyrie to be in the New York area.” He also said Durant was not feeling appreciated enough with the Golden State Warriors.

“I have no doubt they will co-exist,” Perkins said of Irving and Durant. “Kyrie needs to be able to play freely and just be himself and let KD be the leader and the playmaker. I think Kyrie will fall in line. After he left Cleveland he called ‘(LeBron James) to apologize to him. He realized that he is not that dude and that he needs to play alongside a guy like KD.”

The last part will probably be the most interesting storyline to watch in Brooklyn. Perkins added that Durant has finally “got his own team,” but you have to wonder if Irving views it that way. While it’s true that he called LeBron last season to apologize for how he acted in Cleveland, that does not mean he wants to take a back seat to Durant. Irving is confident in his abilities, and he probably thinks he’s the same caliber of player as Durant.

Perkins’ assessment of the situation essentially confirms what was reported about Durant’s desire to leave Golden State, but very few people would be surprised if he experienced some growing pains with Irving — especially since Kyrie is going to play a full season with the Nets before Durant even touches the floor. That could make things more complicated than they are anticipating.

Report: Durant, Irving planned to team up before 2018-19 season began

Kyrie Irving

Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving reportedly planned to team up together some time ago.

According to Howard Beck of Bleacher Report, Durant and Irving had decided after a series of conversations prior to the start of the 2018-19 season that they wanted to play together, though they didn’t quite know where at that time.

Beck notes that the two did initially consider the New York Knicks, but the team’s disastrous season, coupled with the Brooklyn Nets’ success, led to the two stars dismissing the Knicks quickly. They felt that the Nets could offer the better supporting cast, infrastructure, and front office. Neither player was reportedly keen on being planted as a “savior” figure that they would have been had they joined the Knicks either.

Durant, Beck notes, never would have joined the Knicks alone, and talk of the team missing out on him due to their unwillingness to offer a max deal is a smokescreen.

There were other reasons that Durant left, including some disillusionment with the Golden State Warriors. However, it certainly sounds like this was in the offing far longer than anyone publicly knew.

Celtics reportedly interested in three-team sign-and-trade for Walker

Kyrie Irving

The Boston Celtics know they’ll be losing Kyrie Irving and getting Kemba Walker, but they’re reportedly interested in some extra maneuvering to help themselves in the free agent market.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Celtics are interested in a sign-and-trade that would send Irving to the Brooklyn Nets and Terry Rozier to the Charlotte Hornets. This would allow the Celtics to create a full mid-level exception to bring in another supporting free agent.

This is why the Celtics have not yet renounced the rights to Rozier, a restricted free agent. Given that Rozier has interest elsewhere, he may not be happy about it, but with Boston still in control of his rights, there’s not a lot he can do. While not close, it’s a glimpse into the chatter going on behind the scenes to make all this roster shuffling work in an efficient way for everyone.

Report: Kyrie Irving likely to sign $141 million deal with Nets

Kyrie Irving

The long-awaited union between Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets appears to be close to finalized.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Irving will meet with the Nets on Sunday in New York, and the guard is expected to sign a four-year, $141 million max deal with the team.

Irving has been linked to Brooklyn for weeks now, and this does not come as a surprise. The attention should quickly turn to who Irving might bring with him, as he and Kevin Durant have apparently discussed teaming up. Regardless of those conversations, it appears that Irving had his mind made up, and he wanted to be in Brooklyn, where he will immediately become the face of the franchise and send D’Angelo Russell packing. The Nets reportedly will now plan to either trade or renounce their rights to Russell.

Kyrie Irving reportedly refused to sign autographs for charity, gave no reason

Kyrie Irving

Kyrie Irving has done and said a lot of unusual things during his NBA career, but one decision he made toward the end of last season seemed like a head-scratcher even for him.

ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan published a lengthy feature on Friday detailing what went wrong with Irving in Boston, and she said the Celtics were genuinely puzzled over how the All-Star point guard became a malcontent so quickly. As an example of Irving’s apparent disdain for the organization, MacMullan mentioned an incident at the end of the regular season when Irving was the only player on the team who refused to sign basketballs for charity.

Sources told MacMullan that every member of the Celtics signed 100 balls for the team’s charitable partners, but Irving decided not to. While he was not confrontational, he apparently would only say that he is “not interested in that.”

There could certainly be more to the story, but that is a bad look for Irving. Even if his relationship with his teammates, head coach Brad Stevens and others within the organization was tarnished beyond repair at the point, players will typically push that aside for a good cause, and signing basketballs for charity sounds like it qualifies.

Irving verbally committed to re-sign with Boston prior to the season, but things could not have gone much worse in the months that followed. It sounds like he has already made up his mind about where he will play next, and it’s fair to wonder how disappointed the Celtics are to see him go.

Lakers reportedly targeting Kyrie Irving in free agency

Kyrie Irving

The Los Angeles Lakers have cleared enough salary cap space for a third max contract player, and it sounds like they are going to try their best to land one.

The New York Times’ Marc Stein reported on Thursday night that the Lakers will be targeting Kyrie Irving in free agency as much as they are going after Kawhi Leonard.

The Lakers are one of the teams that reportedly will have a free agent meeting with Leonard, who is also reportedly strongly considering a return to Toronto. The Southern California native was believed to have been down to the Clippers and Raptors as his finalists, but he seems to be open to hearing other free agent pitches.

Irving has been strongly linked to the Brooklyn Nets, but he also was said in the past to have been open to a reunion with LeBron James. The Lakers will see if they can make that happen.

So far the Lakers are set to have four players on their roster for next season: LeBron, Anthony Davis, Kyle Kuzma, and second-round pick Talen Horton-Tucker. They have created cap space and will now decide how to use it. If they spend it on one player, that will give them tremendous star power, but make them hurt for depth.

Knicks only willing to give these three players a max contract?

Kevin Durant

The New York Knicks are hoping this will be the summer they can start turning things around for their tormented franchise, but they are not going to panic and recklessly spend money just to make a big splash.

According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, the Knicks are only willing to offer a max contract to Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard and Kyrie Irving. They might consider offering that kind of money to Kemba Walker, but only if Durant agrees to sign first and wants to play with the point guard. If the Knicks miss out on Durant, Leonard and Irving, Berman says president Steve Mills is comfortable signing a few “savvy veterans” to one-year deals and saving his salary cap space for next summer.

Knicks fans would probably consider that a disaster of an offseason, but it makes some sense. Anthony Davis is still scheduled to become a free agent a year from now, and he reportedly wants to sign long-term with either the Los Angeles Lakers or Knicks. If things don’t go well in LA this year, it would not be out of the question that he will want to leave.

Of course, Berman’s reported offseason plan means the Knicks are not willing to offer max money to Klay Thompson or Jimmy Butler. Neither of those players are in the same class as a Durant and Leonard, so teams that are willing to sign them to max deals probably want them as their second-biggest or third-biggest star.

All indications are that the Knicks are willing to sign Durant to a max contract even though his torn Achilles is expected to keep him out for all of next season. But if you believe what Andre Iguodala said this week, Knicks fans may have to wait at least another year for their franchise to find its next savior.