Nets May Move Prized Free Agent via Sign & Trade if He Rejects New Deal

Kyrie Irving, Nicolas Claxton

Getty Nicolas Claxton embraces Kyrie Irving during a matchup with the Indiana Pacers.

According to a recent report by Kristian Winfield of the “New York Daily News,” the Brooklyn Nets are unwilling to give their All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving a long-term extension. Irving only played 29 games with the Nets this season, which has contributed to Brooklyn’s reluctancy to offer him a long-term deal. Kyrie still has one year left on his current deal with the Nets, but it is a player option. He has the choice of either opting into the final year of his deal, or opting out and becoming a free agent this summer as opposed to during summer 2023.

According to Ian Begley of SNY, if Irving does become a free agent, the Nets would be open to moving him in a sign and trade deal.

“The club doesn’t have many options if it decided to move on from Irving this offseason. Several teams planning for the offseason expect Irving to ultimately remain in Brooklyn. But if Irving opts out of his $37.5 million option for next season, the contract negotiations between Irving and the Nets will be interesting,” Begley writes via SNY.

“The New York Daily News reported on Wednesday that the Nets were unwilling to offer Irving a long-term contract. SNY has not independently confirmed that report. But if Irving opts out and the Nets have trouble finding common ground with the seven-time All-Star, opposing teams believe the club will be open to exploring trades of Irving.”

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Proposed Sign & Trade Sends Kyrie to the West

The Nets are no stranger to trading players via sign and trade deals. Last summer, they parted ways with their shooting guard Spencer Dinwiddie in a sign and trade with the Washington Wizards. Though it may be too premature to assume that they would do the same with Irving, it is never too early to fire up the trade machine. In a mock trade from Greg Swartz of “Bleacher Report” Irving is shipped to the Los Angeles Clippers in a sign and trade deal.

“Joining Kawhi Leonard and Paul George would presumably be an attractive destination for Irving, who would also be reunited with former head coach Tyronn Lue,” Swartz writes per “Bleacher Report”.

“For Brooklyn, getting back a collection of starters and role players (a package of Norman Powell, Reggie Jackson and Luke Kennard would make the money work), to place next to Durant should at least be considered as well. Especially if Ben Simmons can return to be the team’s starting point guard.”


Begley Expects Kyrie to Remain With Nets

Irving has given the Nets their fair share of issues in the past, but the numbers don’t lie, and Irving’s stats say he is worth the price of admission. In his last season with the Nets, he became just the ninth player in NBA history to shoot 50% from the field, 40% from beyond the arc, and 90% from the free throw line.

The Nets, despite suffering consecutive disappointing playoff exits, still have their eyes on delivering the franchise’s first title. That is even less likely to happen without Kyrie on the roster. Begley says that even if Kyrie opts out of his current deal, he still expects him to return to Brooklyn.

“It makes sense for Brooklyn to keep all of its options open on Irving and all other players on the roster outside of Durant. Still, if Irving opts out, logic says that the most likely outcome is that he returns to the Nets with a new contract,” Begley continues.

“Irving would have to agree to a sign-and-trade, and the Nets would have to feel that the return on the trade made sense for them. They’d also have to take back a significant amount of salary. So, the smart money says Irving remains with the Nets. But every decision the Nets make – from Irving’s next contract to free agency for Bruce Brown and Nic Claxton – will be crucial.”

The Nets already have seven players set to hit the free-agent market this coming offseason. Adding Irving to that list could put Brooklyn in an even more undesirable predicament.

 READ NEXT: Nets Dealt Grim Hand on Fallout From James Harden Trade, NBA Execs Say

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