Kyrie Irving’s quest for leverage to negotiate his contract with the Brooklyn Nets won’t be found with the threat of a $30 million pay cut to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers, but the sum of the franchise’s deepest fears: Irving Wax and Kevin Durant want exchange.

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Despite everything owner Joe Tsai and general manager Sean Marks have done to assemble one of the most talented “big three” of the modern NBA, Irving’s impenetrable bond with Durant looms like a domino on the way to dismantling the roster. Brooklyn walks the narrowest paths: staying strong in contract negotiations with Irving and backing Durant’s desire to stay online.

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The organization clearly wants Irving to get a shorter deal, whether that’s his $36 million signing for the 2022-2023 season, or possibly pulling out and a new deal that could give him up to $42 million a year on a two-year deal. . to deal with.

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Together, Tsai and Marks spoke out against Irving’s reluctance to get vaccinated, initially refusing to let him be a part-time player – only to let him return again midway through the 2021-22 season. In these contract negotiations with Irving, the Nets are trying to regain some influence with a star who hasn’t been available enough in his three seasons.

How far do the Nets go and leave themselves open to the organization’s biggest vulnerability, Irving’s exit, which leaves Durant in the belief that the roster is no longer talented enough to compete for the championship?