NBA rumors: How Nets' Kyrie Irving pursuit is impacted by second star joining him

Nick Goss
NBC Sports Boston

NBA rumors: How Nets' Kyrie Irving pursuit is impacted by second star joining him originally appeared on nbcsportsboston.com

Boston Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving reportedly is "prepared to sign" with the Brooklyn Nets, but would they change their mind about the 27-year-old veteran if a second superstar free agent doesn't join him this summer?

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ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski addressed this possibility during Wednesday's episode of "Get Up."

"What Brooklyn would like to have is not just Kyrie Irving, but a second star come in with him, and obviously Kevin Durant is that player," Wojnarowski said.

"If they don't get a second star, it'll be interesting to see if Brooklyn wants to have Kyrie Irving as a solo act. That didn't go so great in Boston last year. So we'll see if Brooklyn is still following through on just Kyrie Irving, because if they don't take Kyrie Irving they can just bring back D'Angelo Russell at a lower number, younger player. But the focus with the Nets (is getting) two stars, and to try to get Kyrie Irving to go out and try to recruit KD."

No, it didn't go well at all in Boston this past season with Irving as the leader. Irving was among the reasons why team chemistry seemed to be a real issue with the Celtics throughout the 2018-19 campaign, and his leadership skills were justifiably questioned numerous times. Irving had a good statistical season in Boston, but the team came up woefully short of expectations by finishing in fourth place in the Eastern Conference during the regular season and then being eliminated by the Milwaukee Bucks in a five-game second-round playoff series.

The Nets made the playoffs last season with a young, hard-working team led by a young, up-and-coming head coach in Kenny Atkinson. They looked a lot like the Celtics did before irving came to Boston in the summer of 2017. Do the Nets want to risk Irving messing up the impressive culture they've built over the last few years? It's a risk Brooklyn must weigh over the next two weeks.

The Russell part of this equation is interesting as well. He was an All-Star for Brooklyn last season and is four years younger than Irving. Russell also would be cheaper to re-sign than the Celtics' guard, as Woj noted. The Nets shouldn't let Russell walk as a restricted free agent without getting anything in return unless they know for sure that Irving and a second superstar are coming in free agency. Russell is a great asset, either as an important part of the Nets' core going forward or as a trade chip.

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