Kyrie Irving to exercise $36-million option, stays with Brooklyn Nets
June 28, 2022
After agreeing to stay with the Brooklyn Nets, Irving decided to extend his contract through the 2022-23 season with a $36.5 million deal. This means that he won't be able to leave the team as a free agent this summer.
Despite Irving's contract extension, the Nets still have a lot of work to do before free agency begins on Thursday.
Aside from Irving, several other players from the team who played significant minutes during the first round of the playoffs against the Boston Celtics can also become free agents.
After acquiring Ben Simmons at the trade deadline, Brooklyn has a lot of work to do to improve their roster. They were just swept out of the play-in tournament and performed underwhelmingly in the playoffs last season.
After signing Irving to a contract extension in the summer of 2019, the Nets must take their roster management to the next level so the team can have a shot to be in the next NBA playoff.
Irving may not be in Nets uniform
Although Irving's decision to stay with the Nets doesn't mean he'll be wearing a different uniform next season, the organization may trade him. According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, he wouldn't be able to sign a multi-year deal worth millions of dollars if the team wanted to trade him.
"Irving has until Wednesday at 5 PM to file the paperwork on his opt-in. The Nets can still move Irving as an expiring contract, but the opt-in means he's no longer eligible to get the immediate long-term deal he wanted as part of a sign-and-trade," wrote Wojnarowski on his Twitter.
According to ESPN, the Los Angeles Lakers were the only team interested in signing and trading for Irving. Other potential trade partners for the superstar guard include the New York Knicks, Philadelphia 76ers, Dallas Mavericks, and the Los Angeles Clippers.
The 30-year-old played in 29 regular-season games for Brooklyn in the 2021-22 season. He could not play fully since he refused to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Uncle Drew averaged 27.4 points, 5.8 assists, and 4.4 rebounds per game.
The decision of Irving to opt in could affect the plans of his former teammate, Kevin Durant. Since the Nets got eliminated from the playoffs in April 2022, the star forward has not been in touch with the team's front office.
When the NBA's free agents, Irving and Golden State's Kevin Durant, decided to join forces in Brooklyn three years ago, many expected the two to win a championship. Unfortunately, their expectations didn't materialize as they missed significant portions of the season due to various injuries.
What it meant for Nets after Irving opt-out
The Nets will now have to focus on finding a new free agent after Irving opted out of his contract. The NBA's free agency period begins on Thursday at 6 PM.
Five of the eight players who saw significant playing time during the team's first-round playoff series against the Boston Celtics can become free agents.
After acquiring Simmons, the team must now figure out how it can improve on last year's performance. The Celtics eliminated the team in the first round of the playoffs.
Since Irving is entering the final year of his contract with Brooklyn, the team's options regarding his future are now unclear.