NBA Rumors: Nets interested in Kyrie Irving-D'Angelo Russell pairing

NBA Rumors: Nets interested in Kyrie Irving-D'Angelo Russell pairing

With less than a month until the 2019 NBA Draft and less than five weeks before the start of free agency, rumor season is in full swing. Kyrie Irving's decision seems to be the major domino to fall this summer, and there has been no shortage of takes on where he will end up. 

Brian Windhorst has said he believes Irving is interested in signing with the Lakers and that LeBron James will make a run at recruiting him, but Jackie MacMullen threw some cold water on that recently. Windhorst also suggested the Knicks and Nets are higher on Irving's list of potential destinations than the Lakers, and it appears the interest is mutual on Brookyln's end. 

Russell is coming off a career year, posting career highs in points, assists, field goal percentage, three-point percentage and usage rate. He made his first All-Star team in 2018-19 and led the Nets to their first playoff appearance since 2015.

Russell is also a restricted free agent, meaning he can negotiate and sign offer sheets with other teams, but the Nets ultimately have the right to match any offer and retain his services unless Russell signs a one-year qualifying offer worth roughly $9.16 million. Given the Nets' salary cap situation, they could potentially add two star players earning max-contracts and then re-sign Russell to a rookie scale extension. 

Whether the Nets believe Irving and Russell could thrive together, the fit is still questionable. Both players are used to having the ball in their hands, and while Irving had success playing off the ball with the Celtics, the primary ball handler on the floor with him was Marcus Smart.

Russell is more of a shoot-first guard, so if he shared a backcourt with Irving, somebody's going to sacrifice shots in spots they're comfortable in. Given Irving's superstar status and elite scoring ability, that player would likely be Russell.

This is not even factoring in the variable of that second max-contract player. If Kevin Durant, Jimmy Butler or Kawhi Leonard go to Brooklyn with Kyrie, it would make for a team loaded with ball-dominant players. 

Irving certainly has a lot of options this summer, and while most of the buzz has been centered around teams other than the Celtics, it'd be surprising if Boston isn't under serious consideration come June 30. 

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NBA Rumors: Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant won't play for Nets when season resumes

NBA Rumors: Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant won't play for Nets when season resumes

Since the NBA's suspended season has given Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant months to recover from their respective injuries, some believed they could return and make the Brooklyn Nets title contenders.

That theory was put to rest on Friday.

Durant confirmed to ESPN's Marc J. Spears he will not be returning to play when the NBA season resumes in Orlando, Fla. next month. As for Irving, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski says the former Boston Celtics guard suggested on Friday's NBPA conference call it's possible he could join the team... as an inactive player.

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Durant missed the entire 2019-20 campaign after rupturing his Achilles tendon in last year's NBA Finals. Irving underwent surgery in March to repair an impingement in his right shoulder that ended his first season with the Nets after only 20 games.

Brooklyn currently holds the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference with a 30-34 record on the season.

Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck offers thoughts on NBA's 22-team return plan

Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck offers thoughts on NBA's 22-team return plan

On Thursday, the NBA announced a 22-team plan to resume the 2019-20 season in Orlando, Fla.

The plan passed by an overwhelming 29-1 vote among teams, with the Portland Trail Blazers as the only organization to vote against it. Boston Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck, obviously, was one of the many in favor of the plan and discussed why Friday on Felger & Mazz.

"The point that seemed the most fair is not to give a team that was lagging farther behind in the East, and that was for example [the Charlotte Hornets] who are seven games back," Grousbeck said. "In the history of the NBA, no one has ever come from seven games back at this point in the season. And so, it's more fair to say no, we can only take so many teams because of safety.

"We don't want to have 500 more people with all 30 teams. We'd just have more of a chance of getting shut down because of the virus. So there was a line to be drawn, and we all decided 29-1 that this was the most fair line."

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With safety as the No. 1 concern going forward, it's a no-brainer to limit the teams heading down to Walt Disney World to only the ones that can fight for a playoff spot.

Grousbeck also suggested that the Eastern Conference No. 1 seed Milwaukee Bucks could be the C's first opponent when the league returns to action. The Celtics were preparing for a matchup in Milwaukee when the season was suspended in mid-March.

"I think our first game is going to be Milwaukee, which that would be interesting," Grousbeck said. "Because that's what the schedule looks like just from the current schedule. We don't have the new schedule yet. But we'll probably start right off with Milwaukee."

The C's currently have the No. 3 seed in the East as they prepare to return to the court.

You can hear the rest of what Grousbeck had to say in the video above.