Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving could only speak in images after news broke that the Los Angeles Lakers were among the potential landing spots for the guard if he moves on this summer. Hours after The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that Irving’s talks with the Nets “have gone stagnant,” the guard appeared to respond by tweeting a meme of a man laughing.
Irving’s message topped 4,000 retweets and 10,000 likes just an hour after the point guard posted the GIF. The seven-time All-Star faces a difficult decision this offseason regarding his future in Brooklyn. Irving can opt-out of his four-year, $136.4 million contract to become a free agent this summer. If Irving does not opt out, the point guard is slated to have a $36.5 million salary for this upcoming season and will become a free agent in 2023 without a new extension being signed.
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The Lakers, Clippers & Knicks Are Top Contenders to Land Irving: Report
If Irving decides his time with the Nets is over, the Lakers, Clippers and Knicks are the top contenders to land the superstar, per Charania. The Lakers would need to pull off a trade for Irving to have a chance at landing the guard. Los Angeles could either negotiate a sign-and-trade or a more traditional deal if Irving opts into the final season of his contract with the Nets.
“The Lakers, Knicks and Clippers are expected to be among the interested suitors if Irving heads elsewhere, multiple sources tell The Athletic,” Charania detailed. “For the Lakers, the likely path to acquire Irving would be him 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.
“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.”
Kyrie on LeBron: ‘We’ve Been Through Our Own Battles’
Earlier this offseason, Irving commented on James’ perceived slight when the guard praised Kevin Durant’s clutch ability during a 2020 interview. During a May 6 appearance on “The ETCs” podcast, Irving praised James and attempted to clarify the perceived drama between the two players.
“Shout out to LeBron, you know what I mean. He felt like I was slighting him, and I would never slight him in a way that would probably make him go and have to respond to things like that, you know what I mean?” Irving said. “I respected the hell out of him. We’ve been through our own battles as teammates, as competitors together. So like that that’s all part of it, bro.
“It’s all fun, but when you gotta — like, when you gotta — go and communicate through alternative channels, that only makes things worse. You feel me? You know what I mean? That’s like water under the bridge in terms of how people perceive what’s being said and then how I actually meant it.”