Report: Kyrie Irving to meet with Nets when free agency starts; quick deal opens D’Angelo Russell market
Kyrie Irving has been linked to the Brooklyn Nets for weeks now, in an “I am inevitable” kind of way. Boston is growing smaller by the second in Irving’s rearview mirror.
Now comes the news that Irving will meet with the Nets at the start of free agency, and a deal likely comes fast, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Free agent Kyrie Irving is meeting with the Brooklyn Nets in New York on Sunday and both sides are motivated to move quickly toward reaching a 4-year, $141M deal, league sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 29, 2019
The Nets want Irving, but he also is the bait to help lure Kevin Durant to Brooklyn. While the Durant and Irving have been linked together for a while (first with the Knicks, then with the Nets), Durant has a lot of options on his plate. He could stay with the Warriors, he could team up with Kawhi Leonard and form a powerhouse team with the Clippers or Knicks. The Nets want to move quickly in signing Irving to get their foot in the door, even if Durant says he can’t be recruited.
To sign Irving in Brooklyn, the Nets will either rescind their qualifying offer to D’Angelo Russell, making him a free agent, or help him get to the team he wants via a sign-and-trade.
Nets will be willing to work with Russell and his reps on ways to get him to a team of his choice, including sign-and-trade scenarios, league sources tell ESPN. If Russell and Nets found a sign-and-trade deal that works for both, obviously, there's no need to renounce his rights.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 29, 2019
There is a long line of suitors for Russell, whose game took a step forward last season as he led the Nets to the playoffs. The Minnesota Timberwolves are one possible destination. Also, the Lakers are still in that mix.
The Los Angeles Lakers reached out to D'Angelo Russell's agents at CAA -- Austin Brown and Aaron Mintz -- to set up a meeting with the All-Star guard, league sources tell ESPN. The Lakers and Russell share a mutual interest in a reunion. Lakers have the cap space to sign him.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 29, 2019
The Lakers top target is Kawhi Leonard, but if that falls through (and nobody really knows what Leonard is thinking), Russell makes sense as a secondary guy, one who can be a ball handler and run the offense so LeBron doesn’t have to carry all of that load. If the Lakers land Russell they would have some extra cap space to add a shooter to the roster, before they turn to guys willing to take minimum contracts.