Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving only played 29 games for the Nets this past season after he refused to get the New York City mandated COVID-19 vaccination, which was required for him to play home games at Barclays Center. Irving’s reoccurring absences, coupled with the Nets’ lack of on-court success, have all been factors in Brooklyn’s reluctance to offer him a long-term extension.
This summer, Irving can opt-out of the final year of his deal and become a free agent. Ian Begley of SNY notes if that does occur, the Nets would be open to a sign and trade. NBA analyst Bill Simmons reports that there is trade buzz surrounding Kyrie reuniting with LeBron James on the Los Angeles Lakers.
“There is some Lakers buzz with him, which I’m trying to figure out even how it would happen,” Simmons said during the June 6 episode of the “Bill Simmons Podcast.
“I’m trying to think; A. would Kyrie Irving actually leave the Nets? B. What’s the most money they would pay to keep him? And then C. If they didn’t want to keep him and it was a sign-and-trade scenario, where would he go?”
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Nets ‘Likely’ to Re-Sign Kyrie Irving
A May report from Kristian Winfield of the “New York Daily News” detailed that the Nets were unwilling to offer Kyrie a long-term extension. But a report from Brian Lewis of the “New York Post” suggests that Irving and the Nets are likely to come to an agreement.
“Despite a report that the Nets are “outright unwilling” to re-sign Kyrie Irving long-term — and speculation about him being traded — all indications strongly point toward a reunion between Brooklyn and its All-Star point guard,” Lewis writes via the “New York Post”.
“Irving has until June 29 to decide whether he will opt out of the final $36.5 million year of his contract for 2022-23 and become a free agent. But both Nets and league sources told The Post an extension is more likely.”
Irving’s New Contract Could Have Multiple Incentives
Although Irving and the Nets are likely to agree on a new deal, it won’t be anything like his current contract. One source told the New York Post that the Nets could strike a deal with Irving for less than the max amount with contract incentives that allow him to hit the max.
“As for a contract, I’d probably try to get him back at an annual rate at what he is currently making. They could give him a contract below the max with unlikely incentives that allows him to reach the max,” one source said to the “New York Post”.
“Unlikely incentives are capped at 15 percent of a player’s salary in a given year. So they can make his salary 15 percent less than the max, then give incentives to allow him to get the full max. He would have to opt-out and negotiate a new contract with those new incentives.”
The Nets and Irving are in a peculiar situation as we near the start of the free agency period. It will be interesting to see if he is in a Nets uniform to start the season.
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