3 scenarios that could happen in the Kyrie Irving, Nets saga

Kyrie Irving

While the NBA Draft gets set to take place this Thursday in Brooklyn, all eyes have turned to the Brooklyn Nets and Kyrie Irving as the relationship between the two sides has taken a turn. There is now a legitimate concern that Irving may leave this offseason, which would put the Nets in a precarious spot.

At this point, it is no secret that the Nets need Irving on the floor for them to be at their best and the superstar point guard’s most lucrative option this year is to remain in Kings County. As one would expect after Irving missed a significant number of games in his three seasons with the Nets, Brooklyn’s front office is looking at a shorter extension with incentive-laden bonuses.

However, what Irving does and what makes the most sense financially don’t always go hand-in-hand and Boston Celtics fans learned quickly that just because he says he wants to stay somewhere doesn’t mean he will. With the possibility of  Irving leaving Brooklyn now out in the open, here is several scenarios that could play out. 

Sticking around Brooklyn 

Right now from a logical standpoint, this remains the most straightforward and financially intuitive decision. Short-term or long-term, the Nets still present the best chance to be compensated well and win another NBA title. Even after the drama that filled last season and a first-round exit, the Nets were still given the third-best odds to win an NBA Championship next season by the oddsmakers. 

Now the way this plays out could be in one of two ways, the first, and right now least likely, is that he opts into his $36.9 million player option for next season. It takes away some of the offseason intrigues, but it at least solidifies his spot in Brooklyn for next season. 

Kyrie Irving
Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) walks up the court during the first half of Game 4 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Boston Celtics, Monday, April 25, 2022, in New York.AP Photo/John Minchillo

The second is that he opts out and negotiates a contract extension. From a Nets standpoint, they seemed to be locked in on a short-term deal to protect themselves from the sideshow that things became this season with the mercurial star. Former Nets GM and ESPN analyst suggested in a conversation with the New York Post a three-year max contract that was 100% guaranteed in the final year if he hit a specific quota of games played in the first two years of the deal. 

Ideally for Irving, he would like to get the max deal by opting out and then signing a five-year max extension worth $250 million. Right now that too seems unlikely under Brooklyn’s current posturing. 

Sign and trade

The situation would be a bit messy for anyone looking to get involved in the Kyrie Irving sweepstakes if this is the route things go. The Nets would want a return that cushions the blow that losing Irving would come with and keeps them in title contention. There aren’t a ton of teams that can provide a realistic return and Irving would be OK with going to. 

Even the three teams mentioned in Monday’s report would be tough to pull off a deal with for one factor or another. The New York Knicks, Los Angeles Clippers and Lakers were specifically mentioned as potential suitors for Irving. 

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New York is the only team of the three with a draft pick available to move and it would still take a bit of gymnastics to get the right deal done for everybody. One interesting thing of note is that Sean Marks has consistently made moves within the 48 hour window of the NBA draft. That’s not to say a deal will get done involving Irving, but this could be the window in which something shakes out, 

Irving leaves via free agency

Considering the options Irving would have if he went the full free agent route, this still seems like a scenario that would be less than likely come to fruition. There isn’t a tone of teams around the league that would have the cap space to fit Irving in and those that do aren’t necessarily title contenders.  

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