There are going to be some sleepless nights in Brooklyn this offseason.
Only hours before the start of the 2022 NBA Draft, The Athletic's Shams Charania reported that Nets star Kevin Durant is "monitoring" the team's situation and "considering options with his future." Charania's latest report comes only days after he revealed that Irving and the Nets are at an "impasse" that could "clear the way for [Irving] to consider the open marketplace."
Could Durant really leave Brooklyn behind only three years after joining the team? Here's the latest on what we know.
How Kyrie Irving's situation impacts Kevin Durant
To put it simply, Irving and the Nets don't appear to be on the same page at the moment. Irving wants a long-term contract extension, but Brooklyn is hesitant to give him a max deal.
The New York Daily News' Kristian Winfield reported last month that Brooklyn is "outright unwilling" to give Irving a long-term extension in part because of his injury history and decision not to get vaccinated during the 2021-22 season. More recently, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski noted that the Nets would like to see Irving accept his $36.5 million player option for the 2022-23 season or re-sign on a two-year deal.
If Irving and the Nets don't down back down from their stances, they could ultimately part ways. Irving is interested in sign-and-trade deals with multiple teams if he can't come to an agreement with Brooklyn, per Wojnarowski. His list includes the Lakers, Clippers, Knicks, Heat, Mavericks and 76ers.
Days after the draft, Winfield reported that Durant and Nets general manager Sean Marks still haven't spoken this offseason and if the franchise doesn't get a star in return for Irving, Durant could also request a trade.
Given Durant will turn 34 years old before the start of next season, it's safe to assume that he wants to spend the rest of his prime years competing for championships. In a potential Irving sign-and-trade scenario, it's highly unlikely that the Nets could bring back a player of Irving's caliber, and they don't have the cap space to replace him with a quality free agent.
Essentially, Irving is betting that he will wear Brooklyn down in negotiations because losing him and Durant would be a catastrophic outcome.
Kevin Durant's contract with Nets
Durant doesn't have complete control of his future because he is under contract for four more years. He signed a four-year extension last year that will kick in beginning with the 2022-23 season.