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The Brooklyn Nets immediately became Eastern Conference favorites a few offseasons ago when the team landed Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving through free agency. They bolstered their chances of winning a title further when they also traded for James Harden during the 202-2021 season.

While the Nets seemed like one of the East’s strongest contenders as Durant, Irving, and Harden led them, the star trio didn’t pan out the way everybody thought it could.

Harden practically forced his way out of Brooklyn and landed on the Philadelphia 76ers in a blockbuster trade that netted the Nets Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond, and draft picks. Simmons, who suffered a back injury while ramping up for a return, never made his Brooklyn debut last season.

It seems Simmons remains in Brooklyn’s plans moving forward, but the same can’t be said for Irving. According to a report from Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Nets can’t be certain that Irving will return for next season. As free agency inches closer, there is a realistic chance that the All-Star guard tests the open market rather than returning to Brooklyn.

The Latest on Kyrie 

“Multiple sources tell The Athletic that conversations about Irving’s future have gone stagnant between him and the Nets. An impasse currently exists among the parties that clears the way for the seven-time All-Star to consider the open marketplace, those sources said

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“Nearly two months later, it appears both sides have serious work to do in order to find a resolution that brings Irving back to Brooklyn and his co-star in Durant, who is under contract with the Nets through 2025-26. Several teams across the league have kept tabs on the situation, wondering about the future of Irving and Brooklyn.”

Would the Sixers Inquire?

Irving could opt into his player option for next season, which would cost the Nets over $36 million for the year. But the star guard could search for a long-term deal through free agency, where he’ll get plenty of interest from teams looking to add another star.

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The Sixers are a team that’s rumored to be star hunting this offseason, but it seems unlikely they’ll have any interest in bringing Irving to the City of Brotherly Love.

Right now, James Harden is in Philadelphia’s plans for at least next season. Similar to Irving, Harden has a player option attached to his contract. Following the Sixers’ round two loss against the Miami Heat, Harden mentioned he planned to pick up his option. 

Considering how much the Sixers value the soon-to-be third-year guard Tyrese Maxey, he’ll likely start alongside Harden in 2022-2023. For what it’s worth, the Sixers haven’t been linked to Irving at all since they made the blockbuster trade with the Nets to land Harden.

Per Charania, the three teams monitoring Irving’s situation are the Los Angeles Lakers, LA Clippers, and the New York Knicks. To no surprise, the Sixers aren’t showing much interest, if any at all, in potentially bringing in the seven-time All-Star. 

Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for All76ers, a Sports Illustrated channel. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.


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