Kyrie Irving’s Kevin Durant leverage game is brilliant


Welcome to Layup Lines, our daily NBA newsletter where we’ll prepare you for a tip on tonight’s action, from what to watch to betting to do. Sign up here to get it delivered to your inbox every afternoon.

What’s good, family. It’s your boy Sykes again with another edition of Layup Lines. Let’s talk about the Brooklyn Nets, specifically Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant.

Let’s be honest about it — if Irving wasn’t tied at the hip with Durant, there’s no way he’s a Brooklyn Net at this point. He has only played 103 games in the last 3 seasons and lost a lot of money between injuries, his choice to stay unvaccinated and just being away from the team.

You could say his part-time status shook up the chemistry of the team on his return – they were once the first seed in the East and barely finished at 7. In the end, they were swept in the playoffs and looked like a team that didn’t know each other at all.

and even. He feels like he can talk about “managing the Nets franchise” as one of the centerpieces of the team.

Irving can’t really walk away from the Nets — he won’t find a better deal anywhere else. There aren’t many teams with cap space. Those who do are not pretenders.

The Nets want to give Irving a short-term, incentive deal, but Irving isn’t here for that. He’s looking for big money and big guarantees, like any star NBA player would.

Normally, a player who has missed as much time as Irving cannot play these cards. Still, he’s able to credibly hold her hand right now.

Why? Because Kevin Durant is his buddy. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski explained this to us in a recent report on ESPN+. If Irving leaves, there’s a chance KD leaves too. And Brooklyn doesn’t want that.

“For all that owner Joe Tsai and general manager Sean Marks have done to assemble one of the most talented Big 3 in the modern NBA, Irving’s inscrutable connection to Durant stands as a domino for the dismantling of the list. Brooklyn straddles the narrowest of bridges: keeping conviction on Irving’s contract talks and keeping Durant’s desire to stay on the net.

It’s like when someone threatens to take the ball home while playing pick-up on the home court because they don’t like the rules everyone else is following. It’s their ball, so they make the decisions.

Irving is Durant’s friend. It’s partly because of him that Durant is even in Brooklyn. Without him, there’s no Durant in Brooklyn. And if they hunt Irving, there’s a chance they’ll hunt Durant too.

Durant is obviously his own man. He makes his own decisions. But if there’s more than a 1% chance that Irving won’t be there, makes Durant unhappy? Brooklyn will make a deal. That’s how these things work. It’s hard to get star caliber players in the NBA. Losing one is OK, especially if you have a Durant in the background. But losing two? Nah, that’s unmanageable. Irving knows this and he acts accordingly.

If there’s one thing to take away from this whole scenario, it’s that it’s always good to have friends in high places.

Allow me to take a few notes.

The tip

Some NBA Benefits from USA TODAY Sports Network.

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

John Wall has just taken the sweetest revenge on the Houston Rockets.

They didn’t play it at all last year and it was one of the most embarrassing situations in the NBA. A perfectly healthy player who is just relaxing. Getting paid $42 million for doing nothing.

They might end up sending that back. He would have opted for his $47 million next year.

“So here’s where we finally are with this one. The Houston Rockets will either have to pay the man his money to sit on the bench, pay him a negotiated amount of money to find another team, or just trade him to another team who will pay him that money to actually play. .

Good on the wall. Both parties would be willing to negotiate a buyout here, but it’s still paid. Sounds like a good deal to me.

One to watch

(All odds via Tipico.)

Sun (-10.5, -600) vs. Liberty (+420), O/U 162.5, 7 p.m. ET

(AP Photo/Ashley Landis, File)

The Connecticut Sun has really had the Liberty’s number in their last matchups over the years. They won 4 of 5 and they were all by – at least – 17 points. The Liberty recently won a game in May of this year, but the Connecticut -10.5 seems like good value here.


– A final look at where all the pundits have the best players in tomorrow’s draft.

– The latest NBA trade buzz and draft rumours.

– The biggest draft busts in history for every NBA team.

– Here’s the latest with Rookie Wire’s NBA workout tracker.

That’s it, friends! To your favorite team doing good tomorrow in the draft.

Gannett may derive revenue from Tipico for audience referrals to betting services. Tipico has no influence on such earnings and such earnings are in no way dependent or related to newsrooms or news coverage. See for terms and conditions. 21+ only. Game problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER (NJ), 1-800-522-4700 (CO), 1-800-BETS-OFF (IA).


Comments are closed.