There isn’t a league with more movement among superstars than in the NBA. The biggest names in the game are constantly disgruntled, whether it be because of their supporting cast or dissatisfaction with contract terms. The latest is Kyrie Irving, whose rift falls in the latter category.
The former Celtic and Cavalier wants a long-term deal, while Sean Marks and the Nets are hesitant to oblige. And who could blame them? Over the last three seasons, Irving has missed more games than he’s played. However, if they’re not careful, they could lose two of the brightest stars in the Association.
Kristian Winfield of New York Daily News reports that Irving’s camp has requested and received permission from the Nets to speak with other teams about sign-and-trade packages. Winfield went on to say the belief among league and player circles is that Irving is gone. If he does indeed leave Brooklyn, many suspect Kevin Durant will force his way out as well, which is where the Hawks enter the conversation.
If Marks is unable to land a superstar-caliber player in exchange for Irving, I don’t see Durant staying. The Slim Reaper still hasn’t talked to Brooklyn’s front office.
Because of his friendship with Trae Young, Atlanta could be a perfect landing spot for him. They have the superstar Durant needs to make it back to the Finals, and most importantly, Travis Schlenk has a slew of young players on affordable deals and draft picks to potentially pry him out of Brooklyn.
This is the type of move that can propel a club like the Hawks to being perennial championship contenders. Schlenk must unload the chamber in potential trade negotiations if things continue to unravel in Brooklyn. Atlanta’s ownership is certainly unsatisfied with the way last season ended, and they’ve been outspoken on their desire to upgrade the roster.
This is the kind of scenario small market teams that have trouble attracting free agents dream about. Durant, who would likely never choose Atlanta in free agency, still has four years remaining on his contract, giving him very little leverage. His next home would be determined by whichever team comes to Brooklyn with the best trade package, and the Hawks can put together an enticing one.
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