The drama between the Brooklyn Nets and Kyrie Irving hasn’t stopped and with decision day looming for his $36.9 player option for next season, things don’t seem to be in the best place at the moment.
The Nets and Kyrie Irving are at an impasse and conversations about the point guard’s future have gone stagnant, according to a report from The Athletic. The current predicament has now opened the door for the Nets superstar to consider testing the free-agent waters.
To add to the drama, the crosstown rival New York Knicks are among the teams expected to be interested in Irving’s services. The Los Angeles Clippers and Lakers are also among the teams reported to be interested.
Last Month, Adam Zagoria had reported that Nets general manager Sean Marks and Lakers executive Rob Pelinka had met during the NBA Combine, though it was unknown at the time what they had talked about.
Just over an hour after the original report was published Irving posted a cryptic image on Twitter, which appeared to be a reaction to the rumors. The gif was of Brother Mouzone, a character from the HBO show The Wire, smiling.
Irving had expressed a desire to return to Brookly after the season ended in April with the Nets being swept out of the first round by the Boston Celtics.
“In terms of my extension, man, I don’t really plan on going anywhere,” Irving said at the time. “So this is, like I said, this added motivation for our franchise to be at the top of the league for the next few years. And I’m just looking forward to the summer, and just building with our guys here.”
But Marks appeared to take a much more conservative tone when it came to Irving’s future in Brooklyn during his end-of-the-year press conference in May. At the time the Nets front office had not begun conversation’s with the seven-time all-star’s camp yet.
At the heart of the issue with Irving during his three seasons in Brooklyn since arriving in 2019 has been his lack of availability. Of the 216 regular-season games that the Nets have played, Irving has appeared in 103 of them and he appeared in just 29 games because of his refusal to abide by New York City’s vaccine mandate.
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While Irving has had drama off the court, his play on it is what makes him such a valuable asset alongside Kevin Durant and possibly Ben Simmons. Losing him in the offseason would be a tough blow for the Nets, who have fallen well short of their stated goal over the past two seasons.
Brooklyn is hampered by an already large payroll without Irving’s contract and that would make it tough to replace him. The Nets could work out a sign and trade for him, which could take multiple teams.
The NBA Draft is set to take place on Thursday at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, but the Nets do not have any picks this year. However, the pieces might start to fall into place to indicate what might happen next in Kings County.