Kyrie Irving is reportedly at a standstill in contract negotiations with the Brooklyn Nets, clearing the way for the former Cleveland Cavaliers point guard to explore the open market.
As a result of this, Kevin Durant is believed to be considering his options due to the uncertain situation in Brooklyn.
Irving has a player option for next season in his contract (worth $36.9million) which expires on June 29 and it promises to be a huge week of decisions and free agency.
The options the player and franchise have is that Irving can trigger his player option and test free agency next year, agree to a max contract extension with the Nets for five years and $250m, sign for less than that, or walk and enter the free agent market this summer.
Irving opting to become a free agent is unlikely and the worst-case scenario for the Nets. The point guard will get the most money if he exercises his player option, however, the most likely outcome is he will sign-and-trade.
Who could Irving join?
Irving would like to be considered by the Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks, Miami Heat, Dallas Mavericks and Philadelphia 76ers. Interest is not reciprocated by all, with the player keen on each of these franchises, but he is not a priority for all of them.
If he does leave, the Nets are guaranteed to get worse. Nobody can offer him more money than Brooklyn and the interested parties will be unlikely to be able to offer a sufficient trade. The most likely destinations are the Lakers, Clippers and Knicks.
New York would likely include Kemba Walker in a deal, but he is very injury prone and not in the same league as Irving, however, the Knicks have the most salary space.
He could reunite with LeBron James - who would not be traded - in Los Angeles. A big three of LeBron, Anthony Davis and Irving would be very interesting to see and they would instantly become contenders. Russell Westbrook would have to be used in a trade and the Nets may be open to that, although he is not the player he once was.
As for the Clippers, they have some pieces that could benefit Brooklyn - who are in win-now mode.
Terance Mann, Luke Kennard, Norman Powell and Reggie Jackson are all tradeable, unlike dynamic duo Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Kyrie with the Clippers could be the third star they are missing, as they, like the Nets, hunt for their first NBA championship.
Could Kevin Durant also leave?
Of course, amidst Irving's uncertain future, Kevin Durant's future has automatically become uncertain as well.
He is 'monitoring' the franchise's situation, according to Shams Charania. Irving and Durant are good friends, and if Kyrie doesn't want to be in Brooklyn, it's unlikely that KD will want to be as the only star in the team, especially after he failed to win with both James Harden and Irving, and then just Irving.
Last August, Durant signed a four-year extension and at the age of 34, he will want to land somewhere he can win if he is to be traded.
The Phoenix Suns could potentially work out a deal, as could the Boston Celtics or Heat.
If Durant and Irving do walk, the Nets will be in a hole, and their long wait for a first championship will go on and on.
It is worth mentioning that the Houston Rockets hold the rights to the Nets' draft picks from the Harden trade in the 2020/21 season. This includes: 2023 Nets first round pick swap, 2024 Nets first round pick, 2025 Nets first round pick swap, 2026 Nets first round pick, 2027 Nets first round pick swap.