One of the more bizarre athlete-team relationships we have seen in the New York/New Jersey market maybe coming to an end very soon. Reports are that Kyrie Irving is not happy with his contract with the Brooklyn Nets that currently has a one-year $36.9 million player option left on it. The two sides are said to be negotiating according to The Athletic, but Iriving wants a longer term deal while the Nets prefer a short-laden incentive termed contract.
In short, both sides are at an impasse.
Sources: Kyrie Irving, Nets are at impasse in conversations about his future in Brooklyn, clearing way for the seven-time All-Star to consider the open market. Lakers and Knicks expected to emerge among potential suitors.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 20, 2022
Inside Pass at @TheAthletic: https://t.co/VbOOtrzdTB
And there is a chance that the Nets could either let Irving decline his option and become an unrestricted free agent, or trade him away, preferably out of the conference.
It is another bizarre twist in what has been a wild three year ride together. What started out with so much promise when both Irving and Kevin Durant decided to play for the Nets rather than the Knicks or one of the Western Conference powerhouses, had Nets fans (the few that are there in Brooklyn) dreaming of NBA Finals possibilities. Even the media bought in labeling the Nets as a favorite to win the whole thing the past two seasons.
Instead Irving has either been injured or was virtually banned from playing because he was not vaccinated against COVID-19. When he did play this year, it was a part-time road player, a role the Nets were not receptive to at first until injuries to Durant and James Harden pushed them to welcome Irving back to the team. Irving didn’t play a home game in Brooklyn until mid-April after Mayor Eric Adams lifted the COVID vaccine protocols for athletes when it became obvious that a number of New York Yankees and Mets players would be ineligible to play in their season opening series’ otherwise.
It’s not like Irving didn’t make a difference, he did. In 29 games, he averaged 27 points per game and shot 46 percent from the floor.
But as fate would have it, the Nets were knocked out of the playoffs via a sweep in the first round by the eventual Eastern Conference Champion Boston Celtics. After three-year of the Durant-Irving experiment the Nets watched the Lakers, Bucks and Warriors all win NBA titles. The Nets never got past the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
If Iriving opts out or is dealt, rumors are the Knicks, Lakers and Clippers could be interested.
If Kyrie Irving and the Nets are not able to agree to terms on a new contract, sources around Irving have seen the the Knicks as a possible destination.— Knicks Videos (@sny_knicks) June 20, 2022
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The Lakers would be a weird fit since it would reunite Irving with LeBron James. While that duo won a title in Cleveland in 2016, they had no real love playing with one another.
The Knicks would be even more bizarre. According to Bleacher Report, Knicks Head Coach Tom Thibodeau is a “fan” of Irving’s. Yet, to sign him the Knicks would need to shed some serious payroll and “sacrifice draft capital” just to have a shot at meeting Irving’s contract demands. Plus, why would the Knicks want to sign Irving, who has been a visible distraction for the team across town? Not to mention Irving has a history of rubbing teams the wrong way. Just ask the Cavaliers or Celtics.