Next season will be the final year remaining on Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving’s four-year contract. If the Nets don’t ink Irving to an extension, he will have the chance to explore other options as an unrestricted free agent. Irving confirmed to reporters on March 26, though, that he was looking to remain with the Nets long term.
“It has always been about being comfortable, loving where I’m at, and I love it here,” Irving told reporters, according to NetsDaily.
But often during the season he had questions about his future with the team, he said during an appearance on the May 4 episode of “The ETCs with Kevin Durant” podcast.
“I was sitting at home and — I don’t even want to say sitting at home — I was wondering at home what my future was going to look like, you know?” Irving said.
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Irving Feared Trade or Release
Irving, who refused to get vaccinated against COVID-19, missed the first four months of the season after the Nets sidelined him because he was barred from playing home games at Barclays Center under the city’s vaccination rules. Even though he is, in many ways, one of the NBA’s most irreplaceable talents, he remained unsure about whether the Nets would keep him.
“It was only the journey to enjoy at that point, because … [I wondered] whether I was going to be traded, whether I was going to be released, whether I was going to get the opportunity to be on another team, how I was going to spin this for myself in a positive way,” he said on the podcast.
“So, I kept affirming to myself things are going to change. I had people around me — and I’m grateful for them — affirming that things were going to change. But I never felt like myself throughout the season, because I’m usually sustaining a level of growth throughout the year, instead of trying to catch up with everybody that’s been playing for four or five months. They’ve been at it every day since October or September.”
Irving Wants Part in ‘Managing’ Nets
Following the Nets’ first-round sweep at the hands of the Boston Celtics, Irving reaffirmed his commitment to the franchise, saying his focus was to continue to build upon what he, Durant and others have already created.
“I don’t really plan on going anywhere. I’m just looking forward to the summer and just building with our guys here,” Irving said to reporters after the Nets’ Game 4 loss to the Celtics.
“When I say I’m here with Kevin, I think that it really entails us managing this franchise together alongside Joe [Tsai, Nets owner] and Sean [Marks, Nets general manager], and just our group of family members that we have in our locker room, in our organization.”
With everything that transpired last season, it would be hard to say for certain that the Nets would offer Irving a contract extension.
“Once that summertime hits,” Irving said back on March 26, I know we’ll have some conversations.”
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