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Saturday, June 25, 2022

Nets Championship hopes rest on amicable settlement with Kyrie Irving

No matter where you sit on the edge of the Kyrie Irving fence, it’s important to remember one thing:

If he leaves as a free agent this off-season, expect a Nets championship as they don’t have the cap space to completely replace him.

It’s the Nets’ gamble in the summer of 2019, and Nets GM Sean Marks should take heed when it’s unclear whether Irving is “the right fit” in Brooklyn.

There is no one more perfect fit. The only perfect fit is what it takes to bring the NBA championship to the borough, and Irving, one of the most accomplished players of all time, hitting the shot to lead Cleveland to the title in 2016, gives you a real chance. When he is on the roster.

And when he’s on the floor, which is understandable that’s the sticking point of the nets here. That confirms Marx’s stance, and is the pill that Irving himself must have swallowed: chalk year 1 to serious injuries, but sit games for personal reasons, including the riot at the Capitol in year 2 – and Then there’s also being injured in the playoffs – there couldn’t have been a worse harbinger of effectively leaving his teammates by deciding not to get vaccinated in Year 3.

For a player seeking long-term expansion on a championship-caliber team in a lucrative market, Irving’s pattern of absences is simply a bad look. Some other players could pull off what he did and are still in talks for a maximum contract.

But few players in the league are as skilled or capable as what Irving can do with basketball. Irving is fantastic to watch on television and even more so in person. The Nets have made this contender the first to lose it.

Starpower and Irving are almost irreplaceable. Not to mention the numbers, which are ugly: Durant makes $44M, Ben Simmons gets $34M, Harris takes home under $19M and Seth Curry is on the hook for $8.5M. There’s also a $6M player option for Patty Mills, a $4M dead cap for Jevon Carter, $2M each for rookies Cam Thomas and De’Ron Sharpe, as well as a $10M cap on free agents Bruce Brown and Nick Claxton.

That’s $129M on the payroll, with an estimated salary cap of $122M, which would render the handicapped signing agents free. The alternative would be to find a sign-and-trade scenario Irving would agree with a team that knows the Nets are running low on options.

Sticking to the plan is the best course of action, and whether they like it or not, the Nets are stuck with Irving. Opting for the option would have, in many ways, missed the franchise’s best chance at winning the championship as Jason Kidd sailed the ship from New Jersey in back-to-back NBA Finals at the end of the century.

Irving and Durant are on the roster every season, a season when NBA Finals appearances are on the table, and the Nets aren’t as far from a big win as a first-round sweep would suggest. They have the tools to build a consistent, daring-a-complete roster around both Irving and Durant as they arrived in Brooklyn over summer three. To prove a point he has to make a mess, prioritizing the point over the goal.

Therefore the war between the camp of Marx and Irving must end. The Nets are within their rights to demand an incentive-filled contract with multiple team options to maintain their future flexibility. They must protect themselves against random acts of Q-ness to every extent permitted in a collective bargaining agreement, and Irving must acknowledge that it is his decisions that made the organization feel the need to proceed as such.

But to suggest that Irving is not the right fit is to suggest that the alternative fits better, and the alternative is, in most scenarios, a step backwards. Another step backwards lowers the Nets for a fourth season in a row, mortgaging their entire future on Starpower with nothing but luxury tax payments and a list full of what-ifs.


World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Deskhttps://worldnationnews.com/
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