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NBA rumors: Sixers among teams on Kyrie Irving's 'list' if he doesn't stay with Nets

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Report: Sixers among teams on Irving's 'list' if he doesn't stay with Nets originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The Brooklyn Nets are not exactly projecting stability at the moment. And the Sixers have been linked with another star.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported late Thursday afternoon that, if Kyrie Irving can’t reach an agreement to stay with the Nets, he “has a list of teams he’d like them to consider on sign-and-trades, including the Lakers, Clippers, Knicks, Heat, Mavs and 76ers.”

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Three minutes earlier, The Athletic’s Shams Charania had reported Kevin Durant was “monitoring the Brooklyn Nets’ situation and considering options with his future.”

The 30-year-old Irving has a player option of approximately $36.5 million for the 2022-23 season. Durant, meanwhile, is under contract through the 2025-26 season.

Teams that add a player through a sign-and-trade aren’t permitted to exceed the luxury tax apron, which is projected to be around $155 million this year. That’s been a key figure to monitor for the Sixers since their offseason began. In a literal, technical sense, the only way the Sixers could sign Irving as a free agent would be through using their mid-level exception (or the veteran minimum). That’s obviously not the norm for a seven-time All-Star and why Irving would reportedly want Brooklyn to consider sign-and-trades.

James Harden, Irving’s former teammate with the Nets, has a $47.4 million player option. At his introductory press conference in February, the 32-year-old guard was asked how much uncertainty regarding Irving’s availability influenced his desire to join the Sixers. Irving missed much of last season because he was not vaccinated against COVID-19 and New York City had a vaccine mandate for athletes and performers. 

“Very minimal, honestly,” Harden said. “Obviously me and Ky are really good friends. Whatever he’s going through or is still going through, that’s his personal preference. But it definitely did impact the team because originally, me, Kyrie and KD on the court and winning covers up a lot of that stuff. It was unfortunate that we played 16 games (together) out of whatever it was. It is what it is, but here in Philly is an opportunity that I’m looking forward to.”

Irving, Durant and the Nets were swept in the first round of the playoffs by the eventual Eastern Conference champion Celtics. Ben Simmons did not play after being dealt from Philadelphia to Brooklyn and underwent back surgery in May.

Irving’s unpredictability makes it especially tricky to forecast how things will resolve with himself and Durant. Perhaps the two will remain teammates. However, hours from the start of the NBA draft in Brooklyn, it seems plenty of dramatic possibilities are on the table.

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