Whatever your thoughts on Brooklyn Nets point guard, you must admit that the guy has not the easiest NBA player to work with.
Availability and reliability are everything in sports, and Irving hasn’t exactly been the most reliable basketball player over the past several years.
It’s why the Nets and Irving reportedly are at an impasse over his future in Brooklyn, with the Nets organization looking for a shorter-term deal for the seven-time All-Star. Irving has until June 29 to opt-in to his $36.9 million player option, which would likely ensure that Irving returns to Brooklyn for at least one more year as he either plays out his contract or the two sides work on a longer-term deal.
The Nets would prefer a shorter-term, incentive-based deal with Kyrie Irving, per @JakeLFischer
Dialogue between both sides is expected to remain 'fluid' up until the June 29 deadline for Irving to opt into his $36.9M player option pic.twitter.com/HonP7DgQ09
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 21, 2022
There have been rumors of Irving potentially opting out of his player option, allowing him to become a free agent and sign elsewhere. But, according to a report from The New York Post, “both sides are still working to find a happy medium in Brooklyn rather than an exit strategy out of it.”
The issue for Irving is that a landing spot outside of Brooklyn is not clear. There are not teams out there with enough cap space to sign him at the number Irving is reported to desire. The most sensible solution for Irving is a return to Brooklyn, either by opting in to his player option or by signing a shorter contract extension.
Irving has not put himself in a position to be an incredibly sought after player, despite his immense talents.
Since joining the Nets in 2019, Irving has played in just 103 of 226 possible games, missing out on the majority of the 2021-2022 NBA season after choosing to stay unvaccinated against the COVID-19 vaccine.
Nets general manager Sean Marks alluded to Irving’s propensity for being unavailable in May.
“So he has to look at what he’s going to do with his player option and so forth like that,” Marks said, according to Fox News. “I think we know what we’re looking for. We’re looking for guys that want to come in here and be part of something bigger than themselves. Play selfless, play team basketball, and be available … and that goes not only for Kyrie but for everybody here.”
Prior to joining the Nets, Irving forced himself out of Cleveland after winning a championship, landing with the Boston Celtics. After telling Celtics fans that he planned on re-signing in Boston, Irving left to team up with Kevin Durant in Brooklyn.
Irving has been anything but reliable over his career, but a team with Irving and Durant is still a team to be reckoned with in the Eastern Conference, with the most sensible option resulting in Irving in a Nets uniform for the 2022-2023 NBA season.