Brooklyn Nets rumors: Kyrie Irving preparing to sign with Nets

Brooklyn Nets Kyrie Irving (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
Brooklyn Nets Kyrie Irving (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) /

According to a report, the Brooklyn Nets are going to land a superstar, as Kyrie Irving is reportedly prepared to sign a free-agent deal to come to Brooklyn.

The Brooklyn Nets are going to land a superstar.

At least that’s the upshot of a report from Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald, who cited a source at Roc Nation — the agency Kyrie Irving is expected to hire are his new representative after reportedly severing ties with long-time agent Jeff Wechsler on Wednesday, per ESPN‘s Adrian Wojnarowski.

According to Bulpett’s report Thursday evening, a source at Roc Nation told him that Irving is prepared to sign with Brooklyn. Bulpett said Irving’s current club, the Boston Celtics, had not been given anything definitive from the All-NBA point guard.

The situation with Irving is still in flux. The player is between agents at the moment and while there have been reports for more than a year Irving plans to decline his $21 million option with the Celtics for next season and become an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career.

Irving can’t finalize a representation deal with Roc Nation for 15 days, per National Basketball Players Association rules put into place to discourage agents from poaching clients, which would still give Irving’s new agent time to prepare for the opening of free agency on June 30.

Irving is a player that comes with injury risks, to be sure. The 27-year-old missed 15 games with assorted ailments this season and only once in his career has missed fewer than 10 games in a season, playing a career-high 75 games during the 2014-15 season.

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That season, however, ended with Irving injuring his knee during Game 1 of the NBA Finals, an injury that kept him out for almost two months at the beginning of the following campaign.

But at the end of the day, he’s a two-time All-NBA selection, a former Rookie of the Year and All-Star Game MVP and helped the Cavs to the NBA title in 2016, hitting the go-ahead bucket for Cleveland in Game 7 as the Cavs completed the only comeback to date from a 3-1 deficit in NBA Finals history.

Irving would also be — without question — the biggest free-agent signing in franchise history for the Nets, who have never landed a top-tier player during the summer sweepstakes.

Brooklyn’s history with acquiring star-caliber players has been to either draft them (Buck Williams comes to mind) or to trade for them.

Those trades have sometimes turned out well — Jason Kidd, Vince Carter — and sometimes have been absolutely disastrous (if you want to go into the way-back machine, Tiny Archibald, or of course more recently, Billy King’s folly with the Celtics in 2013 that landed Brooklyn one season of Paul Pierce, a season and a half of Kevin Garnett and a half-decade with no first-round picks).

Irving’s leaning toward the Nets is also another indicator of what Brooklyn has built since bringing in general manager Sean Marks and head coach Kenny Atkinson in 2016.

Three years ago, the Nets couldn’t have gotten a player of Irving’s stature to pick up the phone, much less take a meeting to discuss signing in Brooklyn.

There are still a lot of moving parts and if time has taught us anything, it’s that a free-agent deal isn’t a deal until there’s ink on paper — remember DeAndre Jordan‘s head-fake with the Dallas Mavericks in 2015 before he backed out of that commitment to remain with the LA Clippers.

But it would appear the Nets are on the verge of getting an elite scorer who averaged 23.8 points in 33.0 minutes per game while shooting 48.7 percent overall and 40.1 percent on 6.5 3-point attempts per game.

Irving also racked up a career-best 6.9 assists and matched a career-high with 1.5 steals a night.

But he also had some rough patches this season as the veteran leader of the Celtics, a team that had reached Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals in 2018 as Irving sat on the sidelines with a knee injury.

Irving publicly criticized the young players in Boston — even if it wasn’t by name — and had a brutally bad series against the Milwaukee Bucks in the conference semifinals, following up a 12-for-21, 26-point, 11-assists performance in a Game 1 blowout win with four straight losses in which he shot just 30.1 percent overall and made only 5-of-27 (18.5 percent) from deep.

In the four losses to the Bucks, he also turned the ball over 14 times against 21 assists, not the expected ratio from a superstar point guard.

It’s expected Irving will get a max deal — four years and $140.6 million with a first-year salary cap hit of $32.7 million with 5 percent annual raises in each of the subsequent three seasons.

Brooklyn can open up enough cap space for two max contracts, but only by relinquishing their rights to all of their own free agents — including All-Star and restricted free agent D’Angelo Russell.

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More than two weeks away from the official start of free agency, things are already moving very fast.