The Brooklyn Nets 2021-22 season was nothing less of a disaster. Things looked promising for the franchise, starting off as the favorites to win the title with the Big 3 of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden.
But things weren't going according to plan with the Nets dropping multiple games. This inconsistency led to Brooklyn eventually trading a piece of their talented trio in Harden at the trade deadline. But it seems like the Nets might be at risk of losing their other two superstars, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving as well.
According to ESPN insider Adrian Wojnarowski, the Nets might find themselves in some deep water in the off-season, and much of it really comes down to the extension impasse between the organization and Kyrie Irving.
"Tsai and Marks made a stand on Irving's unwillingness to get vaccinated, initially refusing to let him be a part-time player -- only to allow him back again midway through the 2021-22 season. In these Irving contract talks, the Nets are trying to take back a measure of leverage on a star who hasn't been available nearly enough in his three seasons."
"Kyrie Irving's search for leverage on his contract discussions with the Brooklyn Nets won't be found with the threat of a $30 million pay cut to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers, but the sum of the franchise's deepest fears: Irving walks, and Kevin Durant wants a trade."
"How far do the Nets push and leave themselves open to the organization's greatest vulnerability -- an Irving exit resulting in Durant deciding the roster is no longer talented enough for championship contention?"
The Nets after trading away James Harden, do have a squad filled with great talent. Led by the duo of Durant and Irving, along with the likes of Ben Simmons and some talented role players like Seth Curry and Patty Mills, the roster looks set to challenge the top teams in the league.
But a big factor in all of this will be the willingness of the Nets to take a risk on a player like Irving. While there is no doubt that Kyrie is an incredibly skilled hooper, he has often missed games, be it due to injuries or off-court reasons.
Let's not forget, though, that one of the main reasons why Durant wanted to join the Nets was to play with his friend and contend for championships with him. While the 30-year-old has been unavailable for the team for many games, in the games he has played with Durant, he has been great and sometimes even outclassed the 'Slim Reaper'.
Given how many assets the Nets have already let go to assemble this superteam, it is highly unlikely that they won't sign the 7-time All-Star. Brooklyn, however, can have a contingency plan for all of this, trading Irving for a good package just before the trade deadline. Not only the Nets will likely have another superstar, but they also won't have to deal with the uncertainty of a star like Irving.
Can the Nets keep hold of Durant and Irving for the upcoming season, or is a collapse inevitable?