- Senior NBA Insider
- Joined ESPN in 2017
- Host of The Woj Pod
Six-time All-Star free agent guardKyrie Irvingis meeting with theBrooklyn Netson Sunday in New York with both sides motivated to reach a deal on a four-year, $141 million maximum contract, league sources told ESPN.
Irving, who’s leaving theBoston Celtics, is a part of a bold two-part plan to acquire Irving and All-NBA forwardKevin Durantin free agency, league sources tell ESPN. Irving plans to leave the Celtics, where he was traded two years ago from theCleveland Cavaliers. Irving is a native of South Orange, NJ, which is in the Tri-State area.
Durant remains interested with the Nets and is expected to speak with them this week, sources said. Irving and Durant have built a strong relationship.
The ripples of an Irving commitment will impact All-Star guard D’Angelo Russell, who is a restricted free agent. The Nets have no intention to bring back Russell with Irving on the roster and plan to work to facilitate with Russell and his agents a pathway to his next team, league sources said.
The Nets could renounce Russell and allow him to become an unrestricted free agent, but first could work with his agents at CAA — Austin Brown and Aaron Mintz — on sign-and-trade scenarios with teams without the requisite salary cap space to sign Russell, sources said. One team interested in finding a way to acquire Russell either via free agency or sing-and-trade: TheMinnesota Timberwolves.
Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka reached out Russell’s agents to set up a meeting to discuss a possible reunion with Los Angeles, league sources told ESPN. The Lakers, flush with $32 million in salary cap space, are searching for a third All-Star to partner withLeBron JamesandAnthony Davis. Both the Lakers and Russell are intrigued about exploring a possible return to Staples Center.
The Lakers traded Russell, a No. 2 overall pick in 2017, to the Nets withTimofey MozgovforBrook Lopezand the No. 27 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft to clear space to sign two max-level free agents. The Lakers signed LeBron James, traded for Davis and could ultimately sign Russell back into the space.
Russell, 23, has matured a great deal since the Lakers selected him No. 4 in the 2015 NBA Draft. His time with the Nets melded him into an NBA All-Star.
NBA free agents can begin negotiating agreements with teams at 6 p.m. ET Sunday. Contracts can be officially signed July 6.