Stephen A. Smith Details Sixers’ Rumored Kyrie Irving Offer originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
Just when you think you fully understand what’s going on in the NBA, the league turns everything upside down.
The Kyrie Irving opt-in or opt-out saga seemingly resolved itself earlier this week when Irving signed up for the final year of his deal with the Nets after reportedly compiling a list of favorite sign-and-trade destinations if he and Brooklyn couldn’t bridge their differences.
The sixers were part of that six-team list, but initial reports indicated the Sixers were not interested.
MORE: Harden Refuses Option, Opens Door to Sixers Flexibility
But then, on Tuesday, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported Irving had three opt-in-and-trade options on the table as he weighed his future — and Charania also said the Sixers were one of the teams “snooping around” an Irving trade.
And now, less than an hour before the start of free agency, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith joined the network’s free countdown special to casually drop a juicy little nugget about the Sixers’ hunt for Irving:
†[Irving was] offended, he looks for other teams, throws out a lot of smoke and mirrors.
“Even the Philadelphia 76ers were on the phone, willing to give him a 3-year contract, guarantee him a 3-year contract, but there was no way he was interested in going to Philadelphia and rejoining James Harden or something like that, so that was a smokescreen.”
Wait a minute, WHAT?!?
The Sixers were so far in hot pursuit of Kyrie Irving that they told him they wanted to guarantee him a three-year contract?
Exactly what that trade would have looked like is unclear, although it would have started with Tobias Harris to make the money work and would certainly have involved Matisse Thybulle, whom the Nets liked during the James Harden negotiations, but eventually was held by Sixers President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey.
I can imagine Morey would have played hard and deemed Tyrese Maxey untouchable, and given Irving’s volatility as a player and as a personality, I don’t see how Nets general manager Sean Marks could have found leeway there .
Overall, I like that Morey isn’t afraid to go every way possible to make the Sixers better. But adding Irving… I don’t know. From the jump, it seemed pretty obvious that Irving was just throwing names away, as the main reported reason for Harden’s departure from Brooklyn was friction with Irving. It wouldn’t make sense for the two to pair up again, would it? And yet Morey still wanted to check what it could have been.
With Kevin Durant’s trade request and the general dissolution of things in Brooklyn, I think Irving will be on the move too. I’d say now it looks like he won’t be coming to Philly… but I’m just not saying never because this is all absolutely insane.