After a roller-coaster season with their All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving, the Brooklyn Nets remain stagnant on talks of an extension with their star. Irving has a player option on the upcoming final year of his deal with the Nets. He can opt-in for the 2023 season or enter free agency and join another team. NBA Analyst Bill Simmons suggests a trade that sends Kyrie to the Los Angeles Lakers, former number one overall pick John Wall to the Nets and Russell Westbrook, and a haul of draft picks to the Houston Rockets.
Simmons also notes, that the turmoil surrounding Irving over the last couple of seasons could affect how potential suitors view his trade value.
“Kyrie doesn’t have nearly as much trade value as many fans might think after how the last four years played out,” Simmons said via his Twitter account on June 20. “It’s like 30-35 cents in the dollar. I still think Kyrie opting in for a wait-and-see final year with Brooklyn is the most likely outcome.”
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Kyrie Irving Extension Talks Hit ‘Impasse’
On June 20, Shams Charania of “The Athletic” reported that Irving and the Nets have hit an ‘impasse’ on talks of a contract extension. If he chooses to become a free agent, the Lakers, New York Knicks, and Los Angeles Clippers are said to have interest in the All-Star guard.
“One of the most anticipated free-agency situations involves Brooklyn’s Kyrie Irving, who has a June 29 deadline on his $36.9 million player option for the 2022-23 season. However, multiple sources tell The Athletic that conversations about Irving’s future have gone stagnant between him and the Nets. An impasse currently exists among the parties that clears the way for the seven-time All-Star to consider the open marketplace,” Charania writes for “The Athletic”.
“It appears both sides have serious work to do in order to find a resolution that brings Irving back to Brooklyn and his co-star in Durant, who is under contract with the Nets through 2025-26. Several teams across the league have kept tabs on the situation, wondering about the future of Irving and Brooklyn. the Lakers, Knicks, and Clippers are expected to be among the interested suitors if Irving heads elsewhere.”
Potential Kyrie Trade to Lakers Is ‘Difficult’
A trade to the Lakers would reunite Kyrie with his former Cleveland Cavaliers teammate LeBron James. And although a remix of the team that beat the 73-9 Golden State Warriors would be a feel-good story, Charania notes the path to getting him to Los Angeles will be ‘difficult’.
“For the Lakers, the likely path to acquire Irving — and reunite him with LeBron James — would be Irving opting in to facilitate a trade, because the Lakers cannot realistically clear cap space to sign him themselves, and a sign-and-trade would trigger the hard cap, thus making acquiring Irving significantly more difficult,” Charania writes.
“If Irving would opt-in, Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka would have to satisfy the collective bargaining agreement’s salary-matching rules, meaning if Irving’s $36.6 million was the only incoming salary, the Lakers could send anywhere from $29.3 million to $45.8 million to the Nets and/or a third team in a legal transaction.”
Irving has until June 29 to opt into the final year of his deal. Buckle up Nets fans, this free agency period is already turning out to be quite a ride.