The focus of the New York basketball world seems squarely set on Brooklyn and the ongoing situation with Kyrie Irving after a report was published on Monday over the potential of him leaving Kings County.
While the door has realistically been opened for him to leave, the New York Post reported that the two sides are looking to find a “happy medium” for him to remain in Brooklyn. The crux of the current impasse between the two sides, according to the report, is the length of a potential contract extension.
The Nets appeared hesitant to offer Irving a long-term deal after he missed 103 of the 226 regular-season games that the Nets played since his arrival in 2019. The superstar point guard has dealt had dealt with injury, but also missed games for non-basketball-related reasons.
Irving missed a quarter of the season last year due to his refusal to adhere to New York City’s vaccine mandate, which played a part in the Nets falling short of their expectations and James Harden’s mid-February departure. The point guard could sign a five-year deal with the Nets worth as much as $245.6 million.
An incentive-laden contract could help ease some of the financial issues, but the hold-up has been the length of the deal. A Bleacher Report article indicated that word that Irving could become available started spreading during the NBA Combine in May, but most executives still felt that he would remain in Brooklyn.
The other aspect of the situation is how Nets superstar Kevin Durant feels about his fellow star staying or going. Irving and Durant came to Brooklyn to play with one another and Durant undoubtedly has say in what the organization does.
However, ESPN’s Nick Friedell suggested that the two may not be as close as they have been presented.
“At every turn publicly, (Kevin Durant) has been there to support (Kyrie Irving), to say we need Kyrie, to say Kyrie can win a title with me here in Brooklyn,” Friedell said on Sportscenter. “But I can tell you, I’ve been talking to people in the organization the last couple of weeks, when they finally sit down and talk to Kevin throughout the summer, they are trying to figure out if Kevin saw what everybody else saw. … The reason that whole season got sidetracked was because they couldn’t count on Kyrie, and they didn’t know if he was going to be out there.
“And the issue with Kevin is, he wants to win badly, he wants to be loyal to his friend. But I’ve been told that relationship, while very close, isn’t always as close as it appears to be.”
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Irving still has until June 29 to make a decision about his player option, which would the first domino to fall in the ongoing saga. While it will provide some clarity on the situation, it won’t exactly show the full picture of whether or not Irving stays in Brooklyn or not.