Kyrie Irving Makes Final Call on Nets Future

Kyrie Irving

Getty Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets.

The Brooklyn Nets had an activity-filled season in 2022 that consisted of the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. After being swept out of the playoffs in the first round by the defending Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics, the Nets faced an even bigger issue with the looming contract decision of Kyrie Irving.

The All-Star guard had a player option on his contract at the end of this season where he could play out the final year of his deal or opt-out and become a free agent.

Ultimately Irving chose the former, but according to NBA insider Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson of Bally Sports, there are still complications that need to be worked out as it pertains to Irving and his future with the Nets, as he is seeking a long-term deal from the franchise.

“Those who I spoke with in Irving’s circle shared that he truly wants to be a Net, but it had to make sense. He opted into his deal, but he and the Nets had some sort of complication of what the next move would be, whether it be an incentive-based contract or more,” Robinson shared in an update on August 9.

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Irving Wants To Remain With the Nets

The hesitancy of Nets owner Joe Tsai and general manager Sean Marks to ink Irving to a long-term deal could stem from his inconsistent availability with the franchise since he arrived in 2019. Last season the 7-time All-Star only played 29 games because his unwillingness to get the mandated COVID-19 vaccination barred him from playing Nets home games at Barclays Center.

But beyond last season, Irving’s unavailability has been a recurring issue. He has only played 103 out of 246 games in the last three seasons. But Robinson intimates that Kyrie wanted to remain a Net and still does. The hold-up on his contract extension is solely on the franchise.

“It was shared with me that Irving wanted to stay with the Nets all along and if you look at the circle as I have mentioned all summer all the teams that were mentioned including the Mavericks and other teams all on a world map circle back to the Brooklyn Nets,” Robinson added.

“He wanted to play there all along, and that’s where he’ll stay. And it was intimated to me that Irving has a desire to finish what he started. And one of the reasons why is his dedication to fitness. Those close to the point guard have shared with me that he has been in the gym nonstop.”

2023 Is Prove-it Year for Kyrie & the Nets

The situation between Irving and the Nets has become a bit testy since their season ended in April. The 2023 season has become a prove-it year for both sides.

For Irving, he needs to prove to the Nets, as well as his other potential suitors, that he is worth all the baggage that he comes with. Even if he does want to remain a Net, the feeling may not be mutual. And how he is perceived by other teams will be a factor in what kind of contract he is offered next summer.

For the Nets, general manager Sean Marks needs to prove that he is in his position because of his capability to build a winning roster. That will start by putting the right pieces around his stars, Kevin Durant and Kyrie. They have already done a great job with the offseason signings of Royce O’Neal and TJ Warren, but it will be important to round out their roster with the right pieces.

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