The Brooklyn Nets knew what they were signing up for when they agreed to sign Kyrie Irving as a package deal in order to bring in Kevin Durant. Landing an NBA MVP like Durant is worth the off-court distractions that Irving brings on a fairly consistent basis. Could the Nets grow tired enough of Irving to trade for a different star?
It takes star-power to make an NBA Finals run and Durant already has familiarity with the top superstar on the trade market— James Harden. Per The Athletic’s Joe Vardon, if the Nets want to get a deal done with the Houston Rockets, it would require Irving.
“Harden wants to be traded and the Nets are one of his preferred destinations, though he cannot pick where he goes if he’s moved. The wide belief is if there were a deal to be had between Brooklyn and Houston, the Nets would move their plethora of younger, rising starters and role players. But I talked to a league exec Tuesday who thought the trade, if it happened, would have to be centered around Harden and Kyrie.”
At this point, Irving is only bringing distraction and he’s now always off the court. His absence from the team hasn’t even been explained to the organization. While Durant wanted to play with him, it’s simply untenable to expect to contend with a superstar running mate that isn’t bought in.
The main obstacle for the Nets in a potential James Harden trade scenario has been the lack of an elite player being on the table or enough young prospects with dynamic upside. Previously, there wasn’t a reason to include Kyrie Irving, but now, it’s time to make a change.
There isn’t time to waste with Kevin Durant as a member of the roster. It doesn’t take long for NBA superstars to become dissatisfied with a situation when things aren’t going well enough. Making a move with the Houston Rockets for James Harden would give Durant immediate support with a superstar running mate actually focused on basketball.