One side of the bridge or the other, a Kevin Durant-Kyrie Irving pairing in New York is becoming more likely, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported Thursday.
While hedging that the Warriors remain an option with the power to give Durant $57 million more on a five-year deal than any other team, Windhorst and Durant confidant Jay Williams, the former Duke star, pointed to Durant and Irving hooking up in Brooklyn to play for the Nets when free agency begins June 30.
Durant and Irving have player options that would need to be declined by June 29 to become unrestricted free agents, but that’s considered mere formality at this stage.
Durant, 30, is unlikely to play until at least April 2020 and could sit out all of next season recovering from a ruptured right Achilles tendon.
Irving, 27, met with Durant in New York last week. Durant remained in the city after surgery to repair the injury he incurred in Game 5 of the NBA Finals in Toronto.
As for reports the All-Stars could land in New York, with one on the Knicks and the other with the Nets, Williams said that isn’t going to happen.
Durant’s “super max” offer from the Warriors could be used to help facilitate a sign-and-trade, Windhorst said.
“So, the Durant situation is still in flux,” Windhorst said. “One of the things that is being discussed right now is that the Golden State Warriors would offer Kevin Durant a five-year contract, $57 million extra than he can get signing elsewhere, let him rehab and then work with him to be traded, potentially to New York, potentially to somewhere else. It would be their way to sort of take care of him monetarily after what he just went through and also protect the franchise to some assets. If that happens, the Knicks would be in tremendous position to get back into it because they’re going to have some of these young assets plus cap space.”