Kyrie Irving's final season with the Boston Celtics did not go as planned, and now he's ready to move on to a different team in the Atlantic division. According to a report from ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Irving agreed to a four-year, $141 million deal with the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday. The final year of the deal will be a player option.
Sources: Durant will sign a 4-year, $164M deal with the Nets; Irving will sign 4-years, $141M.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 30, 2019
Irving grew up and played high school basketball in New Jersey, and his interest in moving back to that area to play for one of the New York teams was the worst-kept secret in the league. Now, to the dismay of the New York Knicks, we know he'll be taking his talents to Brooklyn.
In addition to agreeing to a deal with Irving, the Nets are expected to renounce their rights to D'Angelo Russell, who was instrumental in leading the Nets back to the playoffs last season. They may just let him walk, but according to Wojnarowski, Brooklyn is willing to work with Russell on finding him a new home in the league. Whether it's through a sign-and-trade involving Russell, or just the other max space that renouncing him gives them.
It should come as little surprise, but essentially swapping Russell for Irving would be a beneficial move for the Nets. According to SportsLine data scientist Stephen Oh, the move would improve the Nets' chances of making the playoffs next season by over 23 percent.
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Whatever happens, though, their ability to secure Irving's signature is yet another sign that the Nets are on the right path after some disastrous years following their ill-fated deal with the Celtics. A move which, ironically, helped the Celtics get Irving in the first place. That Irving is now heading to the Nets of all teams is a strange twist of fate.
As for Irving, this represents another big challenge for him to show whether or not he can be a leader in this league. He struggled as the main man in Boston, though in his defense, there were a number of other factors at play. Now he'll be in a new situation with a chance for a fresh start, but will once again be expected to lead a young group of players who had some success last season.