The Brooklyn Nets are gearing up for camp on September 27 after a pretty turbulent summer. For those who might be late to the party, the Nets were unsure about the future of their franchise players Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Durant requested a trade from the franchise on June 30 after being swept out of the first round of the playoffs by the Boston Celtics. After trade negotiations dragged on all summer and got nowhere, Durant decided to return to the franchise.
Kyrie, on the other hand, had a player option where he could have chosen to become a free agent on July 1, but he also ultimately chose to return. But the Nets aren’t out of the woods with Irving. Although he chooses to do so this year, next summer the Nets star will be an unrestricted free agent where he can choose to leave the Nets and they will get nothing in return for him.
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ESPN NBA insider Brian Windhorst says there is a scenario where the Nets could move Irving to ensure they don’t part ways with their star guard and walk away empty-handed. A deal where they send him to the Milwaukee Bucks for their star point guard Jrue Holiday.
“I think if you called the Nets and gave them a truth serum and said if you could trade Kyrie for Jrue Holiday now, they would,” Windhorst said on a recent episode of ESPN’s NBA Today.
“The reason I think he’s ranked higher is because he’s an A+ defender. I saw him play with Kevin Durant when the Americans won the gold medal in Tokyo last year. He was great alongside Kevin Durant.”
Kyrie is one of the most dynamic players in NBA history. And to be honest, his talent just can’t be duplicated. But the Nets have a surplus of goals on their tally with Kevin Durant, Seth Curry and Joe Harris.
What the Nets severely lack is a defensive identity, having dropped 100+ points to opponents almost every night this past season. Adding Ben Simmons to the roster will certainly improve the team’s defense, but adding a player with Holiday’s defensive ability could take the Nets to the next level.
Despite having a former Defensive Player of the Year winner in their roster in Giannis Antetokounmpo, Holiday often draws the contract for the opposing team’s top player. Having an elite defender in the guard spot and in the forward spot could make the Nets a nightmare to deal with on defense.
There is much speculation about Irving’s future. While he has repeatedly reiterated his commitment to the Nets this season, the star guard has yet to comment on his intentions for next season.
Losing Kyrie for nothing in free agency next summer would leave the Nets with a huge void almost impossible to fill. If they eventually lose him, the best way is to at least get something in return.