New York Knicks fans are worried about Mitchell Robinson possibly leaving in free agency (although some aren’t worried), but Brooklyn Nets “fans” are worried about the future of their team. Kyrie Irving is due for an extension that hasn’t been signed and Kevin Durant reportedly hasn’t spoken with anyone from the front office since Brooklyn was swept by Boston.
It feels weird to say this to Knicks fans, but it could be worse. There’s optimism around the fan base that a player like Jalen Brunson or Donovan Mitchell will call New York home in time for the 2022-23 season. And even if a star doesn’t come to the Knicks this summer, that won’t compare to Irving and/or Durant leaving the Nets.
It was just three years ago when that duo teamed up together in Brooklyn. Maybe New York fans were left stunned because it had been assumed (via numerous reports) that the belief was that KD and Irving would sign with the Knicks. That didn’t happen and according to Durant, it was an option that he never considered.
But things could be coming full circle for the Nets. James Harden was on the team for a little over a year before he requested a trade and if Brooklyn’s front office can’t get itself together soon, the Nets could go back to being an afterthought in the Eastern Conference.
New York Knicks fans are getting free entertainment from the Nets’ fanbase.
Irving has a $36.5 million player option for 2022-23 that he can decline to become an unrestricted free agent. If that were to happen, he’d be the most lucrative UFA point guard option on the market, but the Knicks shouldn’t go down that avenue.
He and Brooklyn will have until the end of June to agree to an extension, but according to reports, the Nets aren’t going to offer him a long-term extension. Winfield wrote:
"This is why the Nets’ championship hopes hinge on an amicable solution with Irving, whose personal decision not to get vaccinated and unpredictable injury history have left the Nets hesitant, and now, according to a source familiar with the Nets’ thought process, outright unwilling to give him a long-term extension."
Biases aside, the decision to not give Irving a long-term solution is logical. Irving went from not being available to play due to his vaccination status to being a part-time player and then finally being eligible to play games in New York City. But it wasn’t enough for a Brooklyn team that was chosen to be preseason title favorites and failed to win a single game in the playoffs.
So for the Nets fans who were banking on the franchise winning its first NBA championship sometime over the past three years, you were wrong. And if you’re feeling like it’s going to happen sometime between 2022-23 and 2025-26 (before KD is set to become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2026), don’t be so sure.
The idea of Irving not being in Brooklyn next year is a real possibility, but a Durant trade happening during the offseason seems like a far stretch. However, it’s a red flag that he and the front office haven’t been in contact. Sure, KD has been on vacation enjoying himself, but the Nets aren’t in a stable place. And haven’t been since the start of the 2021-22 season.
Brooklyn’s not looking like the paradise destination that it was previously made out to be. Regardless of what Reggie Miller believes about the Knicks, at least they’re not the Nets…