Kyrie Irving Expected To Opt In, Sign Extension With Nets
The Brooklyn Nets were very uncertain about All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving‘s future at the conclusion of their 2022 NBA Season. The 30-year-old had come off an extremely shaky season that was marred by an embarrassing sweep in the first round of the NBA Playoffs to eventual Eastern Conference Champions, the Boston Celtics. This, plus his absence in 53 games for Brooklyn due to his vaccination status plus reported locker room differences that were instrumental in the trade of former MVP James Harden to Philly meant that this offseason would be a trying one for general manager Sean Marks and Irving.
Marks had originally said in May that extension talks were a possibility but also stated, “We need people here that want to be here. They’re selfless that want to be part of something bigger than themselves. There’s an objective and there’s a goal at stake here. And in order to do that, we’re gonna need availability from everybody,” citing Irving’s extended absences from the court during the season. Potential trade rumors and free-agent destinations if Irving had chosen to opt-out were abundant on social media leading some to believe that the former number-one pick’s time in Brooklyn was over.
All signs point toward Kyrie Irving returning to the Nets next season, per @NYPost_Lewis
Irving has until June 29 to decide whether to pick up his $36.5M option pic.twitter.com/kG8WW2bqBy
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— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 7, 2022
However, according to Brian Lewis of the New York Post, “all signs are pointing to Irving returning to the Nets. Irving has until June 29 to decide whether he will opt out of the final, $36.5 million, years 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 contract would differ depending on his decision to opt in or out. If Irving opts in and signs the extension he would likely sign a five-year, $240 million contract but if he chooses to opt out, he can receive a slight pay raise with the total value being around $248 million. A deal to remain with Brooklyn would seem to be the best possible option for Irving as his trade value and free-agent stock are both low following the off-court debacles that took place this season.
Irving averaged 27.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 5.8 assists in 29 games for the Nets this season. He joined the Nets during 2019 free agency after a short but disastrous tenure in Boston. Irving was drafted first overall in the 2011 NBA Draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers. He was with the team for six seasons, winning an NBA Championship with LeBron James in 2016.
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