Kyrie Irving likely to be back with Nets, Mike James could return: Report

Kyrie Irving Brooklyn Nets
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.
AP Photo/John Minchillo

You can put this in the category of, well duh, but it appears that Kyrie Irving will likely be back with the Brooklyn Nets next season and that “an extension is more likely,” according to the New York Post.

Speculation had been building that Irving could look else where if he opted out of his player option next season or that the Nets could look to move him via a sign and trade. However, it seems that media speculation that the Nets were unwilling to give Irving a long-term extension was overblown or that cooler heads have begun to prevail. 

Irving has until June 29 to opt-in to the final year of is contract worth $36.5 million. 

At the heart of the issue with Irving has been his lack of availability for the Nets since he arrived in Brooklyn in 2019. Of the Nets’ 226 games that they’ve played since he signed with the team, he has only appeared in 123 of them. 

Irving’s refusal to take the COVID-19 vaccine essentially cost him 53 games last season as the Nets struggled to keep their championship aspirations afloat while managing Irving’s absence and injuries to key players throughout the year. 

General manager Sean Marks appeared to be doing some message sending during his final press conference of the season in May while fielding question’s about Irving’s future with the Nets. 

“I think those are going to be discussions,” Marks said about Irving and his availability at the time. “It’s a team sport and you need everybody out there on the court. … Some are avoidable and other excuses are of individual nature and those are the ones that we have to try and avoid. We need people here that want to be here. That are selfless that want to be part of something that is bigger than themselves.

“There’s a goal, there’s an objective at stake here, and in order to do that we’re going to need availability from everybody.”

It is believed around the league that Irving was going to return to Brooklyn, according to the report. 

“I agree most (likely) he comes back,” a league source told the Post. “As for a contract, I’d probably try to get him back at an annual rate at what he is currently making. They could give him a contract below the max with unlikely incentives that allows him to reach the max. Unlikely incentives are capped at 15 percent of a player’s salary in a given year. So they can make his salary 15 percent less than the max, then give incentives to allow him to get the full max.

“He would have to opt out and negotiate a new contract with those new incentives.”

Irving isn’t the only one looking to work out a deal with the Nets this offseason either. 

Former Net Mike James is looking to rejoin the team after spending time in Brooklyn during the end of the 2020-21 season, according to NetsDaily. James’ rights are still held by the Nets after he spent last season playing with A.C. Monaco in French Serie A league and Euroleague. 

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James spent 13 games with the Nets in 2020-21 averaging 7.7 points and 18.2 minutes a game. The point guard could be a good depth signing for Brooklyn and he has remained good friends with superstar Kevin Durant. 

Durant made the trip overseas to see James play in the Euroleague after the Nets had been eliminated from the playoffs in the first round. 

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