Amid reports of a “stalemate” between the Brooklyn Nets and Kyrie Irving, the seven-time NBA All-Star will exercise a $36.9 million option on his 2022-23 contract. according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.
Irving could now sign a contract extension with the Nets, or if both parties can’t agree on the long-term deal Irving was looking for, he could become an unrestricted free agent next summer. The Nets can still trade him this season.
Irving, an otherworldly talent and enigmatic figure, signed a four-year, $136.5 million deal with the Nets in 2019, apparently tying his career heyday to friend and All-NBA colleague Kevin Durant.
Following his return with a career-threatening Achilles tendon injury, Duran signed a four-year, $198 million extension last August, with Brooklyn general manager Sean Marks saying the franchise is “very confident” that Irving and James Harden’s extensions will also be ” signed, sealed, delivered” before this last season.
Neither Irving nor Harden made any moves last summer, and their relationship with the team soured over the following months. Irving refused to comply with New York’s COVID-19 vaccine order and missed 53 regular season games as a result. Unsure of the team’s direction as Durant suffered another leg injury and Irving was out on principle, Harden was forced to trade to the Philadelphia 76ers in February.
The Nets cleared Irving to start road games in January, and the city cleared him to play in Brooklyn ahead of the playoffs. He scored 39 points in a brilliant performance in a crushing loss to the Boston Celtics in the first game of their first-round series, and then totaled just 46 points on 37% shooting for the remainder of the draw. The Nets entered the season as title favorites and left in ruins.
Irving later said, “I don’t really plan to go anywhere,” an assurance that might have carried more weight had he not abruptly left rival teams in Cleveland and Boston during the previous five seasons.
The vaccination mandate has been lifted, but injury and availability concerns still surround Irving, who has played in 116 of Brooklyn’s 246 regular season and playoff games over the past three seasons. Shoulder, hamstring, knee, finger, back, groin, ankle and face injuries have cost him games since he signed in 2019. Shoulder surgery ended his 2019-20 season in February, and an ankle injury cost him the last three of his seven games. – 2020 Eastern Conference semi-final game, losing to eventual champion Milwaukee Bucks.
Irving also took a few days off for personal reasons with the Nets.
Irving said in March: “There was no way I could leave my man [Durant] anywhere,” before clarifying in April, “I think it really entails that we will be running this franchise with Marks and Nets owner Joe Tsai. Curry, Joe Harris, Patty Mills, Nick Claxton, Bruce Brown and Blake Griffin and others.
Marks seemed to take issue with Irving’s comments during his exit interview in May, when he told reporters, “We’re looking for guys who want to come here and be a part of something bigger than themselves, play selflessly, play team basketball and be available.” … It’s not just about Kairi, it’s about everyone here.”
In theory, a line-up of Durant, Irving, and Simmons should compete, and bookmakers agree. In practice, Irving and Durant have played 44 games together in three years, and Simmons has not played since struggling in the 2021 playoffs and subsequently not playing last season for several reasons, including a trade request and delay, a back injury, which required surgery and self-described mental health problems.
Irving’s insecurities have raised questions about what the 30-year-old’s next contract might look like. Because he was eligible for various contract options that could net him well over $200 million from the Nets through 2027, or approach that figure elsewhere over the next four years, recent report from Shams Charania of The Athletic that Irving and the Nets weren’t that close to a long-term deal wasn’t much of a surprise.
Actually, This was reported by New York Daily News correspondent Christian Winfield. in late May that Brooklyn was “categorically unwilling to give it a long-term extension.” And since Irving tweeted this month, “I thought Mother Earth belonged to humans. Why am I paying to live here?” no one should pretend to know what will become of his deal.
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