Kyrie Irving has opted into the final year of his contract with the Brooklyn Nets and will be part of the team for at least one more season. But the damper is that the Nets did not offer him a max extension during the offseason. Thus he is on an expiring contract and will be a free agent next summer.
This season will serve as an audition tape for the 7-time All-Star. Not just to impress the Nets front office but to impress other potential suitors as well, as he could decide to move on from the franchise in 2023.
But according to ESPN NBA insider Brian Windhorst, Irving’s focus is not on the future. He is zeroed in on being in Brooklyn this season and competing at his highest level.
“I think Kyrie is invested in being a Brooklyn Net next year,” Windhorst said on the August 18 episode of Get Up!
“Obviously there was some turmoil with his contract extension not happening. He realizes his best path moving forward to get the contract he wants in Brooklyn or elsewhere is to have a very good season.”
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Nets Optimistic About Potential Durant Return
The Nets already have secured a commitment from one-half of their star duo, but one major chip hangs in the balance. For those who may be tardy to the party, Nets superstar Kevin Durant requested a trade from the franchise on June 30. The Nets have agreed to honor Durant’s trade request but have been adamant about not dealing him unless they get a substantial trade package in return for their franchise star.
To this point, their quest to find a fair trade package for Durant has been unsuccessful. Windhorst believes that despite their vow to honor Durant’s request, the Nets have intentionally steepened the asking price for Durant because they don’t want to trade him and would rather run it back.
“Right now, I think the Nets want to run this team back and they’re hoping Kevin Durant agrees,” Windhorst added. “The way they’re conducting trade talks and the prices they are asking has teams out there thinking they don’t really want to trade Kevin Durant anyway. They want to bring this team back. We’ll see if Kevin Durant goes along with that in training camp.”
Nets Future Remains Uncertain
The Nets have gone through a tumultuous offseason. After being swept out of the playoffs by the Boston Celtics, the Nets lost two key players in Andre Drummond and Bruce Brown during the free agency period. Now Durant wants out as well, with a looming Kyrie Irving decision on deck for next summer.
Nobody seems to know where the Nets’ future is headed. But as the old saying goes, winning cures all, and despite all the drama surrounding the franchise, Brooklyn is in a great position to be among the top contenders in their conference next season.
Seth Curry, Joe Harris, and Ben Simmons expect to be healthy and ready to go for training camp, further adding to the team’s depth, something they didn’t have last season. The offseason additions of TJ Warren and Royce O’Neale will also add to that.
If Brooklyn can get Durant to buy in, there is no reason why they shouldn’t be competing for a title next season.