Kyrie Irving: 4 years, $141 million (Brooklyn Nets)
This move had been preordained for awhile now, but it’s now as close to “official” as it can get during the free agency moratorium: Kyrie Irving will be signing with the Brooklyn Nets on a four-year, $141 million max contract.
It’s a tremendous story for the Nets, who were once the butt of a recurring Boston Celtics joke. Now, not only are they free from being tethered to the Celtics through draft picks, but they’re outright stealing their franchise star in free agency. All that bad karma from the Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett trade is being erased.
Irving was a bit of a head case in Beantown last year, but he’ll now replace D’Angelo Russell at the head of a playoff team with more cap space to spare, plenty of young players on the rise and the potential to contend for championships in a wide open Eastern Conference.
With Kevin Durant and DeAndre Jordan likely to join, this team’s title window is officially opened by a guy who posted 23.8 points, 6.9 assists and 5.0 rebounds per game on .487/.401/.873 shooting splits in one of his most well-rounded seasons yet. His leadership may be lacking, but he’ll only be asked to fill that role for a year until a healthy Durant returns.