Report: Durant weighing Nets future amid potential Kyrie exit
Durant has not informed the Nets that he will request a trade if Irving leaves, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Thursday, but the two-time Finals MVP will reportedly want to know how the front office plans to retool the roster around him if Irving does depart.
Irving and the Nets are reportedly in negotiations to keep the 30-year-old in Brooklyn beyond the $36.5-million player option he owns for next season. However, if they cannot reach an agreement, both parties can also collaborate on a trade to send Irving elsewhere by having him exercise the option.
In the event of a possible trade, Irving's list of preferred destinations includes the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, New York Knicks, Miami Heat, Dallas Mavericks, and Philadelphia 76ers, sources told Wojnarowski.
While Irving prefers to land with one of the aforementioned teams, it doesn't necessarily mean those clubs are prioritizing acquiring him, Wojnarowski adds. None of the listed teams can currently sign him outright to a max or near-max contract due to cap space limitations, though, meaning a trade with the Nets - after Irving opts in - is their likeliest route to adding the seven-time All-Star.
The Lakers, led by Irving's former Cleveland Cavaliers teammate LeBron James, are reportedly the "most significant threat" to land the talented ball-handler. If Irving opts out and becomes a free agent, though, Los Angeles would likely only be able to offer the $6-million taxpayer exemption.
Durant and Irving joined the Nets in the 2019 offseason and were expected to usher in a successful era with the franchise. The Nets, however, haven't found consistency with the two co-stars, with both sidelined on multiple occasions due to injuries, followed by Irving's extended absence last season as a result of his refusal to be vaccinated.
Both players originally penned four-year deals containing a player option for 2022-23. However, Durant agreed to a four-year, $194-million extension last summer, keeping him under contract through the 2025-26 campaign, when he'll be 37.