NBA Rumors: Irving Camp Leaked "Impasse" Report For Leverage

The rumors emerged yesterday, causing all kinds of commotion: Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets are at an "impasse" in contract talks, and he might just be looking elsewhere this summer. But today, ESPN NBA Insider Brian Windhorst said that the report was undoubtedly leaked by Kyrie's camp in an attempt to gain some leverage.

Nevertheless, says Windhorst, the Nets are able to "play hardball" with Irving, as he has already said he wants to come back, but the Brooklyn front office is under no obligation to offer him a long-term guaranteed deal. 

"The reality is, he doesn't have a lot of options. And what this will really come down to is if he is willing to actually opt-out of his contract, leaving $36M on the table and open up the window to go someplace else without needing the Nets to trade him there. That is really the game of chicken here," says Windhorst. "If they call his bluff and he ends up (picking up his option), then the Nets will be in a good position."

"Is he really willing to opt-out and sign somewhere for the mid-level exception which is about $10M a year?" asks fellow insider Zach Lowe. The Nets are willing to bet he doesn't. 

In the end, says Windhorst, Kyrie's real leverage play is "you can't make Kevin Durant happy if I leave. So make Kevin Durant happy, sign me and let's get back to work."

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