The NBA offseason rumors are heating up, especially with the Brooklyn Nets. Their stars, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving could be on the move, which would drastically change the future of the franchise and would have a major impact on the Houston Rockets.
Irving is the key, as he is at an impasse with the Nets when it comes to a contract extension. Irving is seeking a long-term contract, while the Nets want him on a short-term deal. If Brooklyn does not meet his demand, he would likely seek a new home:
ESPN Sources: If Kyrie Irving can’t reach an agreement to stay with Brooklyn, he has a list of teams he’d like them to consider on sign-and-trades, including Lakers, Clippers, Knicks, Heat, Mavs and 76ers. None of those teams have cap space to sign him without Nets’ help.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 23, 2022
Irving has suitors if he officially becomes available. His talent is unquestioned, but he is not always able to stay on the floor. He has missed 123 games over his three seasons with the Nets for various reasons. This past season, he only played in 29 games, as he chose not to get the COVID-19 vaccine and was ineligible to play home games for a while.
In the limited games, Irving showed out. He averaged 27.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 5.8 assists while shooting 46.9 percent from the field and 41.8 percent from downtown.
If the seven-time All-Star guard leaves, Durant may request a trade. He is reportedly mulling options and could be on the move soon. Durant would have many suitors, as he is one of the best players on the planet. The 33-year-old forward is one of the best scorers in NBA history and can elevate a team to being a contender.
Durant averaged 29.9 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 6.4 assists per game this past season. He shot 51.8 percent from the field and 38.3 percent from the 3-point range.
So, how does this news affect the Houston Rockets? Houston holds the rights to the Nets' draft picks from the James Harden trade in the 2020-21 season:
2023 Nets first round pick swap
2024 Nets first round pick
2025 Nets first round pick swap
2026 Nets first round pick
2027 Nets first round pick swap
Rockets fans right now: pic.twitter.com/Qx815HNBFo
— StatMuse (@statmuse) June 23, 2022
With that said, here is why the Rockets would be the biggest winners of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving leaving the Nets.
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Rockets' Bright Future Ahead
Although the Rockets are building up their young core, they have even more to look forward to. The franchise has Jalen Green and just selected Jabari Smith with the third overall pick in the draft. These two pieces can be the cornerstones of the franchise, with many more picks to build out the team, including No. 17 pick Tari Eason.
Green had a promising rookie season, averaging 17.3 points per game while shooting 42.6 percent from the field and 34.3 percent from behind the arc. While his efficiency wasn't great, he improved throughout the season. Adding more talent around him like Smith will help him take his game to the next level.
These won't just be late-round selections either, as was expected with Brooklyn's Big 3 after the Harden trade. If the Nets have to blow it up, they will likely go into rebuild mode. This would be highly beneficial to Houston given all the draft capital the franchise owns from Brooklyn.
The Rockets can then either use the picks to select more young talent or use them in trades to acquire a star.
Houston fans should be rooting for the Nets blowing up, as it will help the Rockets take the step to become a contender in the Western Conference. Although the Rockets don't have an elite player yet, they are on the rise.
Houston will be a team to look out for in the upcoming years, especially if Irving and Durant leave Brooklyn now or in the very near future.