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If Nets Lose Kyrie Irving in Free Agency, Could Mavs Trade for Kevin Durant?

Kevin Durant and the Brooklyn Nets “have not spoken” since the season ended.

It appears the Brooklyn Nets are turning into a classic case of a team that counted its chickens before they hatched.

After assembling a superstar trio of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden 16 months ago, many expected the Nets to be the NBA’s next dynasty. Instead, Brooklyn is closer to being a disaster … and the Dallas Mavericks might be in an ideal position to take advantage of that.

The Nets shocked the basketball world at this year’s trade deadline by dealing a disgruntled Harden to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for Ben Simmons, who hasn’t played in an NBA game in over a year and just had back surgery.

Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn Nets

Now, according to a report from Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News, the Nets are “outright unwilling” to give Irving a long-term contract extension due to questionable availability on a game-to-game basis. 

Irving, who could become an unrestricted free agent this summer if he declines his $36 million player option, could really flip things upside down for the Nets if he walks. Not only would Brooklyn not have cap space, but they also don’t have any good draft assets for the foreseeable future due to the Harden trade with Houston a year-and-a-half ago.

A big reason Durant signed with the Nets in 2019 was because of his friendship with Irving. With Durant not getting any younger — he’s 33 years old and heading into his 16th season — he might look for greener pastures to finish out the prime of his career.

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According to that same report, Durant and the Nets "have not spoken since they were swept out of the first round [by the Boston Celtics]."

Luka Steph

If Durant does end up demanding a trade to a better situation, the Mavericks should be one of the top teams on his list. Not only do the Mavs have a bona fide 23-year-old superstar in Luka Doncic, but they also already have solid, championship-level defensive foundation and a high-quality coaching staff.

Dallas has the contracts to make such a blockbuster trade work financially, and it could also help the Nets replenish some future trade assets if a complete rebuild is imminent.

As the Mavs have proven in this playoff run to the Western Conference finals, they likely don’t need Durant in order to win a title in the coming years — smaller moves to increase the team’s depth would suffice. But if GM Nico Harrison is looking to aim for the stars, he might want to keep his telescope focused on what’s going on in Brooklyn just in case.