Some within the Brooklyn Nets organization believe guards Kyrie Irving and D’Angelo Russell “could not only coexist but thrive” while playing alongside each other, according to the New York Post’s Brian Lewis on Saturday.
This comes after SNY’s Anthony Puccio reported Irving, who grew up in New Jersey, is “strongly considering” the Nets as a potential landing in free agency.
Irving can opt out of his contract this offseason, while Russell will be a restricted free agent.
Irving is a six-time All-Star who thrives with the basketball in his hands. He averaged 23.8 points on 48.7 percent shooting for the Boston Celtics this season, adding 6.9 assists and 5.0 rebounds per game.
Meanwhile, Russell continued his upward trajectory by establishing new career highs in scoring (21.1 points per game), field-goal percentage (43.4 percent) and assists (7.0 per game). That breakout season not only earned him his first All-Star selection, but it helped the Nets snap a three-year playoff drought.
Pairing Irving and Russell would give Brooklyn one of the most talented backcourts in the league. However, both stars are accustomed to playing point guard. In 2018-19, Irving had a usage rate of 28.3 percent and Russell was at 30.8 percent. Both of those were among the top 25 in the league, with Russell’s figure franking 10th.
That’s not to say the two couldn’t play together; there would just need to be some adjustments.
Irving has shown in the past while playing alongside LeBron James in Cleveland that he can still be effective while sharing the responsibilities of running an offense. It was as James’ teammate that Irving hit one of the biggest shots in league history to win the 2015-16 NBA title.
It’s worth noting that Irving and Russell already have a solid relationship, as a March Instagram post by the Nets star indicates. Puccio noted the two shared a high school coach, Kevin Boyle.
Irving said in October that he planned on re-signing with the Celtics, but a tumultuous season led to him to backpedal on his commitment, as he told reporters “Ask me July 1” when approached about his impending free agency in February. Along with Boston and Brooklyn, the New York Knicks and the Los Angeles Lakers are among the teams likely to show interest in Irving.
Courtesy: Bleacher Report