By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
The Nets look like a smart, responsible organization for their apparent reluctance to sign free-agent-to-be Kyrie Irving as their centerpiece player. But there may come a point where they just give in to his tantalizing talent.
That’s the kind of scenario that NBA insider extraordinaire Adrian Wojnarowski described in a new appearance on ESPN’s “Woj & Lowe”, which you can watch above. Though Woj and other prominent NBA reporters have said that the Nets wouldn’t want to sign Irving as a “solo act” and prefer to sign Kevin Durant along with him, Irving’s preferences and Durant’s complicated injury situation are turning the whole thing into a game of chicken.
More specifically, there’s still a chance that the Nets just give in to Irving and sign him, with or without Durant, which would guarantee at least one season where Irving would be their leader and top player for the majority of it.
“There’s going to be a moment of truth if [Durant] doesn’t come [to the Nets] and Kyrie says ‘I’m ready to go’, where as an organization, it may not be what you intended but you say ‘Know what, we’ve got a chance to improve this team, even dramatically, and we’ll take on that second star who may not be all-NBA caliber,” Wojnarowski said.
The last part of his comment referred to second-tier NBA free agents like Tobias Harris or Jimmy Butler as the would-be No. 2 to Irving in the pecking order. Butler hasn’t garnered the best reputation as a teammate, either, so him and Irving on the same team could make for some spectacular trainwreck TV.
This could be good eatin’ for Celtics fans. Woj says earlier in the video that Irving has “gravitated over time” toward the Nets because of their “infrastructure” with young talent, coaching, and management. You could read these comments by Woj about the Nets and easily think he’s talking about the Celtics a year or two ago. Just a little Mad Libbing puts Irving’s thoughts in basically the same spot now that he was before he even came here.
“If Kyrie Irving misses 10 games in a season, or 12 or 15, he knows Spencer Dinwiddie [Terry Rozier] comes in and starts and they’re not going to lose all those games. … Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen and Joe Harris [Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart], players who have shown they can get a team to the playoffs. Management [Danny Ainge], coach [Brad Stevens] there — those things have made it more attractive, to the point now where I think the Knicks have had to start looking at other contingencies to try to sell Kevin Durant on coming to them.”
Hilarious. Irving could be on the verge of starting down the same rickety road with the Nets that he took with the Celtics. It’ll only be a matter of time before he’s questioning the GM’s lack of veteran additions, the coach’s strategy against (possible Celtics guard) Kemba Walker, or repeatedly rambling about how he needs to lead the young guys and show them how to win the right way.
It’s all set up for history to repeat itself in Brooklyn. Durant signing there would change things dramatically. But it sounds like the Nets would eventually sign Irving either way. As disappointing as the past few months have been for Celtics fans, it would at least be mildly enjoyable to watch another Irving implosion take place in a different city.
Matt Dolloff is a 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@example.com.