This offseason, Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving flirted with the idea of opting out of the final year of his contract and signing with another NBA team. He was even given permission to seek sign and trade partners for the Nets this summer, and the Los Angeles Lakers were the only ones who put significant consideration into the deal. Irving even considered signing there for the $6 million mid-level exception as a free agent. However, he ultimately opted-in to his final year and rejoined the team and is set to be an unrestricted free agent this offseason.
Because Irving is set to be a free agent, many have considered if the Nets will look to move him before the contract expires. One source told Heavy Sports that the Nets could get a deal done this season, but that was before the recent drama involving Irving. After a team-issued suspension after he shared a link to a film with antisemitic themes and his early refusal to apologize, it has made the All-Star point guard a hard player to trade ahead of the trade deadline.
Kyrie Irving ‘Does Not Have Value’ on Trade Market
One Eastern Conference executive recently discussed with Heavy Sports NBA Insider Sean Deveney the likelihood of Irving finishing the year with the Nets, and he stated that it was likely because of the baggage he brings he does not have value in a trade market. He even suggested that the chances of Irving getting a big contract next year are slim.
“He just does not have value. The Lakers stuff has been sort of hanging out there, and if LeBron keeps adding pressure on them, maybe that front office would make the move. But there is not much reason for the Nets to do anything with the Lakers, not if all they get back is Russell Westbrook. You’re just swapping one problem for another problem. Kyrie makes ($36.9) million. What are you going to do with that? There was some talk about Dallas, but that never got far. They don’t want that headache, even if they’re struggling now. Nobody wants it, so he is probably stuck finishing up in Brooklyn and becoming a free agent next summer. And even then, as good as he is, he is probably going to be a short-term mid-level guy, at best, until he shows he can be on a team without destroying it,” the Eastern Conference executive told Heavy Sports.
The executive noted that Irving will have to prove he can be on a team without “destroying it” before he again gets serious offers in free agency. Despite that, it’s hard to imagine a generational talent with the likes of Irving being available at such a low rate. He continues to put up numbers for the Nets and, with the right team, could still help them win games.
LeBron James Still Pushing for Irving Trade
While some executives may shy away from signing or trading for Irving when he becomes available, one person has been reported to be welcome to the idea of teaming up with the point guard is his former Cleveland Cavaliers teammate LeBron James. ESPN’s Zach Lowe recently suggested that some of James’ recent actions on social media were to again push or provide a path for Irving to join him in Hollywood.
“Look, I don’t know why LeBron said what he said about Kyrie yesterday,” Lowe said on the November 11 episode of his Lowe Post podcast. “About how it’s time to bring him back in the league.
“Maybe he just said it because he believes and there’s nothing else to it. I can tell you around the league and even within the Lakers, some corners of it, those comments were read as LeBron opening the door to…at least opening the door to, ‘Hey, if you all are comfortable with it and all the blowback it would be, and the Nets are willing to just get out of the business now of Kyrie Irving so we can get him for much cheaper, not both picks, maybe one pick.'”