The endless back and forth that has taken place between Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets this offseason looks to have some resolve finally. After the Nets were unwilling to extend Irving long-term because of concerns about his commitment to the team, Irving entertained the possibility of opting out in Brooklyn and signing with another team. He gave six teams that he would be most interested in playing with, but soon after, ESPN’s Zach Lowe broke a report that Kevin Durant could be available in a trade in the next six or seven days and that drastically changed the market for Kyrie.
The Los Angeles Lakers have been consistent in their pursuit of Kyrie Irving all summer long, and LeBron James has made it very clear he would like to be reunited with his former teammate in Hollywood. There was a time when Irving was reported to be so interested in joining James in Los Angeles that he would be open to taking a pay cut with the Lakers’ $6 million mid-level exception. However, that felt a bit like a leverage play, and Irving ultimately opted into the $37 million final year of his contract with the Nets, just before Kevin Durant asked to be traded.
Durant is believed to have made his decision to request a trade after seeing how some of the negotiations with the franchise unfolded. That caused a lack of trust between Durant and the front office and likely led to his ultimatum that he gave to Joe Tsai to either trade him or fire general manager Sean Marks and head coach Steve Nash. If Durant was to be dealt, the expectations were Kyrie would be dealt before or soon after. However, Durant looks to still be on the market, and Shams Charania of The Athletic released a bombshell report that the Nets are planning to keep Kyrie Irving for the 2022-23 NBA season.
Kyrie Irving Back in Brooklyn?
While many have questioned the future of Irving in Brooklyn, on Monday, August 22, there was finally some clarity based on the recent report from Charania.
“All-Star Kyrie Irving also opted into his $37 million player option, committed to the 2022-23 season in Brooklyn, and sources with knowledge of the situation say he has been working out with teammates and holding constructive dialogue with the organization this offseason. Brooklyn has made clear to interested teams that they plan to keep the seven-time All-Star, according to sources,” Charania wrote.
Irving, who has been consistent that he always wanted to stay in Brooklyn long-term even after negotiations went awry, has been working out and communicating with those in the organization, and the news that he was in a ‘good place‘ with the organization from a few weeks ago looks to have merit. The Nets have publicly supported Irving in recent weeks on their social media and more and fans can be excited about their dynamic number eleven returning to Atlantic Avenue this season.
What is Going on with KD?
With the expectation that Irving is coming back, what does that mean for Kevin Durant? The team has been negotiating to find a way to keep Durant recently, and perhaps this helps get that deal closer. Other recent reporting does have some surprising teams entering the mix for Durant, including the Milwaukee Bucks and Memphis Grizzlies emerging as suitors.