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Nets, Kyrie Irving at an impasse; last on Miles Bridges; NBA Draft Ratings

With the NBA draft three days away and free agency around the corner, the trade talks, signings and lawsuits for all 30 teams have begun in earnest. Across the league, top free agents — and potential free agents — are being watched: Zach LaVine of Chicago, Bradley Beal of Washington, James Harden of Philadelphia, Deandre Ayton of Phoenix, Miles Bridges of Charlotte, Jalen Brunson of Dallas, Anfernee Simons from Portland and more.

But one of the most anticipated free agency situations involves Brooklyn’s Kyrie Irving, who has a June 29 deadline on his $36.9 million player option for the 2022-23 season. However, several sources indicate Athleticism that conversations about Irving’s future have stagnated between him and the Nets. An impasse currently exists between the parties that paves the way for the seven-time All-Star to consider the open market, those sources said.

Irving joined the Nets with Kevin Durant in the summer of 2019, although Durant missed their first season together while recovering from a torn Achilles tendon. Irving made the All-Star team in 2020-21 and helped lead the franchise to the Eastern Conference Semifinals alongside Durant and James Harden before injuring his ankle in Game 4 against the Bucks. After last season, in which he only played 29 games and missed most of the season’s home games due to his decision not to comply with New York’s vaccination mandate, Irving has clearly indicated that he intended to return to the Nets this summer and continue. to build with Durant and newcomer Ben Simmons. He averaged 27.2 points, 6.1 assists and 3.9 rebounds per game and made 40.4% of his 3-point attempts in three seasons with Brooklyn, but he appeared in 103 of 216 games. regular season.

“I’m not really planning on going anywhere,” Irving said April 25 after the Nets’ season-ending sweep of the Celtics in the first round of the Eastern Playoffs.

Nearly two months later, it looks like both sides have some serious work to do in order to find a solution that brings Irving back to Brooklyn and his co-star in Durant, who is under contract with the Nets until 2025-26. . Several league teams have been keeping tabs on the situation, pondering the future of Irving and Brooklyn.

Lakers, Knicks and Clippers should be among interested suitors if Irving leaves elsewhere, multiple sources say Athleticism.

For the Lakers, the likely route to acquiring Irving — and reuniting him with LeBron James — would be for Irving to opt to facilitate a trade, as the Lakers cannot realistically clear cap space to sign him themselves, and a sign and trade would trigger the hard cap, making Irving’s acquisition much more difficult. If Irving signed on, Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka would have to meet the collective bargaining agreement’s salary-matching rules, which means that if Irving’s $36.6 million was the only incoming salary, the Lakers could send between $29.3 million and $45.8 million to the Nets and/or a third team in a legal trade.

For the Knicks, the likely path to acquiring Irving depends on what the Nets prioritize. New York is even with the salary cap line for 2022-23 so it can clear enough space to sign Irving to a max contract by offloading salaries such as Evan Fournier, Alec Burks, Nerlens Noel and Kemba Walker. But the Knicks could also offer some or all of those players to the Nets or a third team as part of a possible sign-and-trade.

For the Clippers, the likely route to getting Irving requires him to sign up, as they’re well past both the luxury tax line and the hard cap for 2022-23. To satisfy the salary match, the Clippers would have to send between $29.3 million and $45.8 million to the Nets and/or a third team if Irving is the only salary heading. The Clippers’ storyline is less complicated than the Lakers’, as the Clippers have a streak of players earning $11-17 million to work with. For example, two or three of Norman Powell, Marcus Morris, Luke Kennard and Reggie Jackson meet CBA trade rules, and they also have a collection of young players like Terance Mann or Brandon Boston who could help sweeten the deal. .

A potential Irving departure would be incredibly damaging to the Nets due to their limited ability to replace him and his salary window should Irving sign elsewhere as a free agent. A more likely path to any departure would be via sign and trade. Brooklyn owes six players $111 million in 2022-23, not including Irving, so even filling the roster with minimum salaries would put the Nets above the projected salary cap of $122 million for next season. If Irving gets carried away, Brooklyn’s strongest path to adding talent would be the $10.3 million mid-tier exception. Irving is also eligible for a new contract by exercising his player option and extending his contract from there, which could net him a starting salary of $45.2 million for 2023-24.

“We’re looking for guys who want to be part of something bigger than themselves, play basketball as a team and be available,” Net GM Sean Marks said in May. “That goes for not just Kyrie but everyone here.”

For the Nets, Irving’s free agency fate is one to watch as the NBA Draft and free agency approach.

More NBA News and Notes

Atlanta Hawks

Hawks free agent guard Lou Williams intends to continue his playing career, his agent Wallace Prather has said. “(Williams) isn’t looking to retire, and I’ll be proactive in talking to teams during free agency,” Prather said. Williams, a 17-year veteran, averaged 6.3 points and 14.3 minutes per game in 56 games last season.

Charlotte Hornets

Rival executives expect Hornets restricted free agent Miles Bridges to order a max – or near max – deal in July, and sources have said Charlotte is reluctant to match a max sheet. Bridges had a stellar season in 2021-22, averaging 20.2 points, seven rebounds and 3.8 assists per game. In a league that has seen wings like Golden State’s Andrew Wiggins and Boston’s Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown make game-changing impacts on a run to the NBA Finals, Bridges’ two-way ability on the wing has become incredibly valued for to win.

Cleveland Cavaliers

Cavaliers restricted free agent Collin Sexton has been cleared for all basketball activities, sources said. Sexton underwent surgery in November to repair a torn meniscus and made a full recovery on the eve of entering free agency. Rival executives believe Sexton’s market could be as high as $20 million a year.

Indiana Pacers

The Pacers are seriously discussing trades centered on Malcolm Brogdon and Myles Turner, sources said. The Wizards and Knicks are interested in Brogdon, armed with picks No. 10 and 11 respectively, sources said. The Hornets have expressed interest in Turner, those sources said. Still, Indiana, which has the No. 6 pick in the draft, could choose to continue revamping its veteran core rather than rebuilding entirely around younger players.

Minnesota Wolves

The Timberwolves have discussed deals around veteran centers, including Atlanta’s Clint Capela, sources said.

Sacramento Kings

The Kings are increasingly comfortable in the draft at No. 4 in Thursday’s draft and have described a steep price tag for teams behind them in the lottery trying to trade, sources said. Sacramento general manager Monte McNair has engaged in conversations around Hawks forward John Collins – among a host of other established and productive players in the market – but the No. 4 pick has not been involved in the talks centered on Collins, and McNair will ultimately make the decision on the pick, sources say.

Utah Jazz

Sources said the Jazz are planning second interviews with almost all of their 15 head coach candidates as the next step in the process.

The 15 head coach candidates are: Knicks assistant Johnnie Bryant; current assistant Alex Jensen; current assistant Lamar Skeeter; Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin; Celtics assistant Will Hardy; Bucks assistant Charles Lee; thermal wizard Chris Quinn; Mavericks assistant Sean Sweeney; Celtics assistant Joe Mazzulla; Pistons assistant Jerome Allen; 76ers assistant Sam Cassell; Suns assistant Kevin Young; G League head coach Jason Terry; former Lakers coach Frank Vogel; and former Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts.

Draft notes

• Auburn’s Jabari Smith, who practiced and met the Magic (No 1) and Thunder (No 2) during the pre-draft process, is a virtual lock to get into the top two in the draft . He remains a favorite to go No. 1.

• Kentucky’s Shaedon Sharpe is the mystery man in the NBA draft. Sharpe is a projected high lottery pick, and sources say he conducted solid group practices such as three-on-three scrums to show his ability to teams that haven’t seen him play organized basketball. over the past year or two. Instead of conducting individual workouts, Sharpe sought out the competition, working for teams between the No. 1-13 draft ranges.

• G League Ignite’s Michael Foster will eventually work for 15 teams, with his 6ft 9in build and expected versatility at the top level making him a candidate to be a draft sleeper. In 13 games for the Ignite last season, Foster averaged 14.8 points and a team-high 8.7 rebounds per game.

(Photo: Winslow Townson/USA Today)

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