The Nets’ summer has been framed as having to pick between keeping D’Angelo Russell or chasing Kyrie Irving. But maybe they don’t have to choose.
Sources told The Post that some within Barclays Center feel Russell and Irving could actually coexist. And Kevin Boyle — the only man who has coached both — guarantees that together they not only would survive, but would thrive.
Boyle coached Irving at St. Patrick High School in Elizabeth, N.J., then guided Russell to two national titles at Montverde (Fla.) Academy. He told The Post that if the Nets can team up his star guards, the friends will make a dynamic duo.
“I 1,000 percent think that could work. D’Angelo knows Kyrie, likes him, respects him. That could work with both sides. Kyrie could help D’Angelo to that top-10, top-15 level,” Boyle said. “I could see that blending together nicely. Not everybody fits with everybody. I don’t know why in Boston the things didn’t fit [for Irving], but it could fit there.
“They could play together, because both are guys who can score, get their shot own shot, yet both are outstanding passers and spray the ball around.
That could work together. … Kyrie is a unique talent, top 10 in the league. When he’s going right, with the right crew, he can help lead a team to a championship as he’s already proven. That’s a fact.”
David Griffin, who was the Cavaliers’ general manager when Irving played there, said on NBA TV the Nets are “the fit that’s better for him in terms of his mindset. … He likes what they’ve done there, culturally.”
Earlier this month, Caesars installed the Nets as favorites to land Irving, who grew up in West Orange, N.J., attending the team’s games when they still played in New Jersey.
“[The metro area] will always be home to me. I’m from New Jersey, to just be clear. This is where I grew up,” Irving told The Post last summer.
The narrative is Irving and Kevin Durant are a package deal bound for the Knicks. But the Nets — with their odds of landing Kawhi Leonard fading — could create room for both if they trade Allen Crabbe and Spencer Dinwiddie and renounce Russell. But if they aren’t able to get Durant, they feel Irving and Russell would make a good combo.
Russell averaged 21.1 points and seven assists this past season, the only guard in the Eastern Conference to top both figures. Irving averaged 23.8 and 6.9.
Portland’s Damian Lillard-C.J. McCollum duo works, and Boyle is convinced a Russell-Irving pairing would too, despite their high usage rates.
“They’d be good together because they both don’t mind the other guy handling the ball. They don’t have to dominate the ball all the time,” Boyle said.
“People accuse Kyrie of that, but when he has players with a similar skill-set, similar knowledge to make plays, he’s more apt to share. D’Angelo is one of those guys.”
Irving was a solid plus-180 in 1,370 minutes this season alongside Marcus Smart, and plus-55 in 441 minutes with Terry Rozier.
It should be noted Russell — with the NBA’s sixth-highest usage rate — was a minus-19 in 682 minutes alongside Caris LeVert and minus-32 in 1,697 minutes with Dinwiddie. But after LeVert hit his stride, he and Russell were team-best plus-51 in 102 minutes after March 24.
“I don’t know how you let him go right now, unless your argument is we’ve got to move money for Durant,” Boyle said. “As an organization it’d be really hard to let him go the way he played the last 50 games. You don’t want to look like the Lakers. They let him get [away].
“I understand you’ve got to get Durant if you can. You might have an argument for Kyrie, but it’s still a hard one, because if you can get them together it makes sense to me. … I just hear rumors. Not from Kyrie, just the basketball world. You’re getting the vibe that it’s New York. Maybe its Brooklyn.”
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