In an appearance on ESPN on Friday, Adrian Wojnarowski said contract talks between Kyrie Irving and the Nets have become “acute” as the two sides continue to search for common ground over where Irving will play next season.
Woog also said that although Irving has given the Nets six NBA destinations he would have preferred if there was no deal, there is limited interest in him in the money cap. The ESPN insider said the only team with any real interest is Lakers. However, he said, getting a contract for Irving to pay more than $6.3 million – the MLE taxpayer – seems unlikely.
“This has become concerning,” Wag told an analytical panel of ESPN NBA analysts. “And I think that’s the concern when you look at not only Kerry’s future in Brooklyn, but also Kevin Durant’s future and whether they can keep this thing together.”
As SNY’s Ian Begley reported Thursday, owners Joe Tsai and Sean Marks are in full swing about their position in the negotiations.
Wuj was also clear that with some of Irving’s six landing points, not all of them reciprocated.
“The interest is not shared in many of these places,” Woog said. “The Lakers are clearly the ones on the horizon. Will Kyrie Irving walk away from the option of a $36.9 million player he could sign up for and get that money guaranteed, especially after a year in which he lost about $17 million by not being vaccinated last year and more unpromoted With a sneaker deal that isn’t going to be there anymore, definitely at the level it used to be.”
Nike, with whom Irving’s relationship has been stormy in recent years, has informed him that their relationship is over, at least on a profitable level. Woog said that even if L.A. wanted to arrange a reunion with LeBron, she had little hope of making any kind of deal other than TJ. The report could also be an attempt by one side or the other to indicate that now is the time to get things done. It was done between curling and Irving. This seems unlikely at this point.
“Except that they’re going out and doing some creative stuff financially, they can’t pay more than $6 million for him next season. They can now clear some cover space and sign him on an extension down the road, but you’re basically looking at the $30 million to walk away from the Brooklyn team. That’s, to opt out. Like Bobby (Marx, ESPN cappologist) said, just choosing to get a tick and trade somewhere, it’s a very complicated scenario.”
It is uncertain where the Nets will advance Irving’s position. Woog hinted the other day that it could take two years and $84 million, a far cry from the five years, which Irving wants $245.6 million. That would be higher than what Christian Winfield suggested this week was their initial offer: Pick $36.9 million next season, then return to negotiations next July.
Irving has until next Wednesday to resolve the issue before free agency. But he could expand things by pulling back, then measuring the market in early July. During that time, the Nets will also have to fill out their roster and decide on their eight other free agents, including Bruce Brown and Nic Claxton. If they get offers from other teams, the Nets ownership and front office will have to decide whether or not to match. Not knowing Irving’s (or KD’s) status complicates matters.
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