Kyrie Irving is one tough man to figure. After rumors swirled for days that the Brooklyn Nets point guard wanted out of his contract, and requested that Brooklyn seek a sign-and-trade, Irving instead opted to take his $36.5 million salary for the 2022-23 season and will return to Brooklyn.
According to ESPN, Irving had created a list of teams he wanted to play for if the Nets could swing a trade with them. However the only team that showed an interest was the LA Lakers. Since so few teams showed interest in his talents, Irving opted to return to Brooklyn for one more season.
Without the ability to find a sign-and-trade deal, Kyrie Irving plans to exercise his $36M player option for next season and return to the Nets, sources confirm. https://t.co/ShNgQETZpy— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 27, 2022
Kyrie Irving: “Normal people keep the world going, but those who dare to be different lead us into tomorrow. I’ve made my decision to opt in. See you in the fall. A11even.” https://t.co/rpiS8YkSZI— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 27, 2022
The Nets could still try to trade him, but it will not be of the sign-and-trade variety, and Irving will have no say of where he wants to go. Irving will become an unrestricted free agent next summer on July 1, 2023.
The news is just another round of silliness revolving around the former All Star. The Nets signed Irving three summers ago, despite a checkered reputation Irving built for himself in stops at Cleveland and Boston. The Nets had hoped that teaming Irving up with Kevin Durant would result in putting the Nets into the NBA Finals. That has not happened.
In three seasons, the Nets have made the playoffs twice and reached the Eastern Conference Semifinals once — during the 2020-21 season when it lost to Milwaukee.
This past season Irving created a lot of negative headlines for himself by not getting vaccinated against COVID-19, forcing the Nets to keep him inactive for most of the season. When injuries started piling up, the Nets were able to bring Irving back, but only as a part time player in road games, since New York City maintained a vaccination requirement. It was not until Mayor Eric Adams lifted the mandates in April that Irving was allowed to play home games again in Brooklyn.