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2 best free agent destinations for Kyrie Irving if he shockingly leaves Nets

kyrie irving, nets, knicks, mavs, mavericks

It was just a year ago when it was thought that the Brooklyn Nets had established their long-term future by collecting a superstar trio of Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving. Flash forward to the present and it is clear there are some serious concerns. James Harden forced his hand to Philadelphia in exchange for the disgruntled Ben Simmons. The Defensive Player of the Year candidate was unable to suit up at all last year and is currently recovering from back surgery.

While the duo of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant is still enough to make the team a contender, it is not a certainty both are back. A recent report from Kristian Winfield revealed feelings are not warm between Irving and the Nets. Brooklyn does not appear comfortable offering Irving a long-term deal given his sporadic availability. Irving has played a total of just 103 regular season games and 13 postseason games across three years with the Nets. His talent is not the question, but concerns about his availability certainly hold weight.

If the seven-time All-Star is to move on from Brooklyn, there are certain to be teams prepared to give him an opportunity. Irving has a $36.5 million player option which he has been noncommittal on. If he does choose to test the free agency waters, here are two teams you can expect to roll out the welcome mat.

2 best free-agent destinations for Kyrie Irving

New York Knicks

The New York Knicks have been starved for the opportunity to land a big-name free agent for quite some time. Given the off-the-court concerns of Kyrie Irving, the Knicks hold an opportunity to capitalize. Even with the concerns, Kyrie averaged 27.4 points, 5.8 assists, and 4.4 rebounds while shooting 41.8% on three-pointers last season. Irving would be the premier free-agent signing in modern Knicks history and would rejuvenate some life back into the franchise.

From Kyrie Irving’s perspective, the destination also makes sense. The former NBA champion would likely have a longer leash for his personal choices given the Knicks’ destination for a star. The Knicks hold the third-largest cap space heading into this offseason. They will certainly be itching to make use of this. Moving just a short distance up the road and staying near his hometown area could certainly hold appeal for the 30-year-old.

Dallas Mavericks

It will be interesting to see what the Mavericks elect to do this offseason. They have outperformed expectations this season and are currently in the Conference Finals against the Warriors. Luka Doncic has ascended to a top-tier NBA star and elevated the franchise along with him. The tactic of surrounding him with effective defenders and impressive three-point shooters has proved effective.

While it looks great when these complementary players are connecting, the Mavs still lack top-tier firepower. Adding Kyrie Irving would certainly solve this issue. While both Irving and Doncic’s ball dominance could raise some concerns, the Mavericks may need another guy capable of going and getting a bucket. Kyrie Irving has accepted a secondary role in the past and if he comes in with the right mindset this could bring some real success.

The biggest question mark surrounding this possibility is Jalen Brunson. The 25-year-old is up for his first major contract and has played his way into a hefty deal. He has been a great compliment to Doncic and is a major reason for the team’s playoff success. The Mavs will likely do their best to lock up the Villanova product long-term but it is unclear what his priority is. If Brunson does elect to look elsewhere, the door for Kyrie Irving certainly opens.

Even with all of his flaws, Kyrie Irving remains one of the premier talents in the NBA. His masterful blend of ball-handling and shot creation is a joy to watch. His future in Brookly may be uncertain but there will be plenty of teams willing to give him a chance. Expect more clarity on the situation to leak out but the Nets are certainly playing with fire. The NBA remains a star-driven league and this has been the basis of the Nets’ team-building style. Losing James Harden and Kyrie Irving in the span of six months would be a massive hit to the franchise. Brooklyn should be doing everything possible to mend the relationship and extend their championship window.