Brooklyn Boro

Waiting game begins for Durant, Irving

Star tandem could be on its way out of Downtown Brooklyn

July 5, 2022 John Torenli, Sports Editor
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Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving arrived in Brooklyn during the summer of 2019 with an historic bang.

But the superstar tandem might be on the way out of the Nets’ organization with a simpering whimper.

If, of course, general manager Sean Marks can get what he and the Nets want in return.

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Durant indicated his desire for a trade out of Brooklyn last week after Irving opted into the $36.5 million salary he’s scheduled to receive here next year.

Both are now beholden to team owner Joe Tsai and Marks to play let’s make a deal with attractive suitors. But that could take weeks, if not longer, depending on what the Nets can get for Durant, who has four years left on his contract, and the mercurial Irving on an expiring contract.

The Los Angeles Lakers have been the only rumored suitor for Irving, who indicated following the playoffs that he wanted to remain in Brooklyn.

The Nets were unwilling to give the point guard a long-term deal and that thwarted any chance of the sides working together to send Irving to the team of his choice.

Brooklyn could get Russell Westbrook back from the Lakers, but that swap has yet to gain any serious momentum.

Durant is also eager to try new environs — Miami, Phoenix and Golden State have all been mentioned as potential landing spots — but the Nets hold the most leverage in deciding where the two-time NBA Finals MVP winds up.

Three summers ago the arrival of these two superstars meant Brooklyn was one of the NBA’s elite teams, and a favorite to come out of the Eastern Conference each of the previous two campaigns.

However, Brooklyn won just one playoff series — taking out Boston in five games in the opening round of the 2020-21 postseason — and was swept out of the first round by the Celtics a season ago.

Wake Forest product Alondes Williams (right) will be a member of the Brooklyn Nets’ Summer League team in Las Vegas this month. AP Photo by John Minchillo

The Nets’ previous so-called dream team, consisting of Deron Williams, Brook Lopez, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, also managed just one playoff series win.

No one could have imagined Durant and Irving doing so little to enhance the Nets’ brand on the NBA landscape after both opted to bring their talents here.

Now, Brooklyn basketball fanatics must hope that their attractiveness on the trade market results in another rebuild on the corner of Atlantic and Flatbush.

One that brings the Nets closer to their first-ever title and our borough’s first major pro sports championship since 1955.

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Just because Durant and Irving are in limbo doesn’t mean Marks has to stop filling out his Summer League roster.

The GM inked guard Alondes Williams to a two-way contract Monday, adding the Wake Forest product to the 2022 squad, which will compete in Las Vegas from Wednesday until July 17.

Williams played 35 games for the Demon Deacons last year, averaging 18.5 points on 51 percent shooting from the field. The 23-year-old All-Atlantic Coast Conference First Team selection also pulled down 6.4 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 1.2 steals per contest.

Guard Goran Dragic is reportedly on his way out of Brooklyn after signing a one-year deal with the Chicago Bulls. AP Photo by John Minchillo

According to an ESPN report, the Nets have lost veteran pont guard Goran Dragic to the Chicago Bulls, who signed him to a one-year contract on Sundasy.

Brooklyn had to compete with several teams last season to sign Dragic, who played just 16 regular-season games for the Nets during the 2021-22 campaign

He averaged 10.5 points and 4.5 rebounds per game during Brooklyn’s short-lived four-game run in the postseason.


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