Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant have kept the Brooklyn Nets in flux for the last month, as both players have reportedly expressed a need to leave the team. Kyrie was first when he failed to agree on an extension with the Nets and accepted the player option on the final year of the contract, intending to leave the team for the Los Angeles Lakers via trade or walk for nothing.
Kevin Durant followed with a reported trade request hours before the free agency window opened up. Since then, KD has been linked to the Miami Heat, Phoenix Suns, and most recently, the Boston Celtics. However, KD's trade request has been hard to fulfill due to the Nets wanting a bigger package than what Utah received from Minnesota for Rudy Gobert.
NBA insider Marc Stein believes that a Durant trade will force the Nets into moving Irving as soon as they can.
"One he opted in, he kind of surrendered the ability to dictate anything. So, it’s really how do the Nets feel about this? And If Kevin Durant is still there, then obviously, that does open up the possibility that they keep Kyrie Irving. But if Durant goes, I don’t see any way that the Nets just keep Kyrie. I think if they can find a Durant trade, they will aggressively ramp up their desire to move Kyrie elsewhere.”
Keeping Kyrie after Durant is moved will make little to no sense for the Nets. Irving's relationship with the organization looks broken at the moment, especially with Joe Tsai not wanting to extend him. If Durant stays, Irving will be more likely to bite the bullet and play a final season alongside KD.
If Durant is gone, there is no reason for Irving to see the season out for Brooklyn. The Lakers will be happy to hear that and must be monitoring the situation as closely as they can.