Is Kyrie Irving’s time with the Nets coming to an end?
It certainly seems like it after multiple reports indicated that Irving has requested to be traded from Brooklyn before the NBA trade deadline next week. The surprising turn of events comes just over a week after Irving’s agent told Bleacher Report that Irving’s “desire is to make Brooklyn home, with the right type of extension.”
Now the situation has taken a complete 180-degree turn where Irving would like to be traded before the Feb. 9 deadline or else he will walk in free agency next July, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
What the trade market for Irving is right now is unknown since nobody had expected the Nets star to be moved. Irving’s play, which has helped carry the Nets while Kevin Durant has been out with an MCL sprain, had been a huge part of the Nets’ turnaround after he returned from an eight-game suspension earlier in the year.
There had been some talks on a new deal, but they were unable to come to terms on a contract, according to both ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and SNY’s Ian Begley. Additionally, Charania reported that the Nets had made Irving an extension offer with “guarantee stipulations,” which was not well received.
The situation very well could be a leverage play by Irving and his camp to try to get the Nets back to the table and talking in more favorable terms for a contract extension. The Nets were in a similar spot over the summer when Kevin Durant had requested a trade, but eventually rescinded it after a sitdown with general manager Sean Marks, then head coach Steve Nash and owners Joe and Clara Wu Tsai.
Irving’s talent is without question, but the Nets may still be leery of Irving considering the history he’s had with the club since arriving in Brooklyn in 2019. The superstar missed a large portion of the season last year because of his refusal to get the COVID-19 vaccine and when he did return in January he was only allowed to play in road games until New York City lifted its COVID-19 mandate in March.
He was suspended earlier this season after sharing a link to a film on his social media filled with antisemitic rhetoric and then failing to back down from his post. Irving later did apologize and has kept the focus on basketball since the incident.
All of that will likely play into what happens next for the Nets and how this situation plays out. The market seemed very limited over the summer for Irving, but his play on the court should at least draw some intrigue from a few more teams if the Nets do try and explore a trade.
However, Brooklyn will be negotiating from a position of weakness if they do engage in any trade talks for Irving between now and next Thursday’s deadline. And the situation is sure to overshadow anything else going on with the Nets until then.
The Nets are slated to play three games before Thursday’s deadline and they also play the Chicago Bulls on Thursday after the deadline passes.