Kyrie Irving has list of teams to go to if deal with Nets can’t be worked out: Report

Kyrie Irving Kevin Durant
Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) sits on the baseline during the first half of Game 3 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Boston Celtics, Saturday, April 23, 2022, in New York.
AP Photo/John Minchillo

The news continues to get more and more concerning surrounding Kyrie Irving’s future with the Brooklyn Nets.

Just hours before the NBA draft was set to take place at Barclays Center, new reports surfaced that indicated that Irving has assembled a list of teams that he’d like to be moved to in a sign-and-trade if things between the two parties can’t be ironed out. According to NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski, the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, New York Knicks, Miami Heat, Dallas Mavericks and Philadelphia 76ers are among the teams on Irving’s list. 

All the teams mentioned do not have the cap space to sign Irving without the Nets help, Wojnarowski noted. 

The information followed a report from The Athletic’s Shams Charania that Kevin Durant was monitoring the situation and “considering options with his future.” Charania was first to report earlier this week that talks between the Nets and Irving about his future had hit an impasse and the door was open for the superstar point guard to depart Kings County. 

The first major hurdle for both sides is Irving’s $36.9 million player option for next season, which he has until June 29 to decide on. While it won’t truly show what his intentions are, it is one of the first major decisions that will have to be tackled. 

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 stalemate between the Nets and Irving stems from their commitment — or lack of — to give the mercurial star a long-term contract. Irving has very noticeably been absent for a number of games over his three years in Brooklyn. 

He has played in 103 of the 216 regular-season games that Brooklyn has had since he signed in 2019 and missed a third of the season this past year due to his refusal to get vaccinated. The Nets didn’t help their own cause by first banning Irving completely at the start of the year over his vaccine stance, only to relent and allow him to play as a part-time player. 

Irving has publically expressed his desire to stay in Brooklyn on a number of occasions, including during his press conference after the Nets’ Game 4 loss to the Boston Celtics. 

It had been during that press conference that he very publically intimated that he would be helping to manage the team. 

“When I say I’m here with Kev, I think that really entails us managing this franchise together alongside (Nets owner Joe Tsai) and (general manager Sean Marks) and just our group of family members that we have in our locker room and our organization,” Irving said at the time. “It’s not just about me and Kev, I don’t want to make it just about that. We’re cornerstones here. We have Ben (Simmons), we have a few other guys that are under contract. We’ve just got to make some moves this offseason, really talk about it, really be intentional about what we’re building.”

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Marks appeared to try and push back on that notion when he addressed the media in May. The Nets general manager was hesitant to commit to Irving long-term and tried to change the narrative around Durant wielding as much power as many believe he does. 

“I think that’s a little bit of a misnomer there where people think player empowerment means you just let them do whatever they want to do,” Marks said. “That wasn’t the case when Steve was a player, certainly wasn’t the case when I was a player on any of the teams we’ve been on and it’s not the case here. I think involving players in key decisions and the right decisions in particular points in the season is the right way to do it.”

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