By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Kyrie Irving is reportedly on his way to the Brooklyn Nets as a free agent. But according to top NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski, that's not unless he brings another superstar with him.
Wojnarowski said Tuesday on ESPN that the Nets are mainly interested in pairing Irving with Kevin Durant as max-deal free-agent signings. Durant's Achilles injury in the NBA Finals has severely complicated his status for the next couple of seasons and beyond. So Woj is wondering whether Brooklyn would still go the Irving route if it means they make him the centerpiece of the team without Durant.
“What Brooklyn would like to have is not just Kyrie Irving, but a second star come in with him, and obviously Kevin Durant is that player,” Wojnarowski said (via NESN's Logan Mullen). “If they don’t get a second star, it will be interesting to see if Brooklyn wants to have Kyrie Irving as a solo act. That didn’t go so great in Boston last year.
"So we’ll see if Brooklyn is still following through on just Kyrie Irving, because if they don’t take Kyrie Irving they can just bring back D’Angelo Russell at a lower number, younger player. But the focus with the Nets: get two stars, and to try to get Kyrie Irving to go out and try to recruit KD.”
Woj doesn't necessarily say that the Nets won't sign Irving alone. But he's clearly talking to high-ranking executives and gauging their interest in various scenarios. So you can reasonably assume that the Nets wouldn't be so interested in making Irving their marquee player after how poorly it ended with him in Boston.
Irving himself, who grew up about an hour away from Brooklyn in West Orange, N.J., may have other reasons to sign with the Nets with or without Durant in tow. If it turns out that the Nets' interest in signing Durant now fades, they may not want Irving unless he recruits someone else.
It still doesn't appear that Irving would have a stunning change of heart and return to the Celtics, either. He's reportedly "ghosted" the team with July 1 around the corner.
Matt Dolloff is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at [email protected].