The Brooklyn Nets have a major decision to make regarding Kyrie Irving. The point guard is expected to turn down his player option and seek a max contract in free agency.
Irving remains likely to stay in Brooklyn, but it’s no guarantee that the two sides will reach a deal. At a press conference Wednesday, Nets General Manager Sean Marks would not commit to signing Irving long term.
"Do they want to be part of this? Are they motivated by something that's not good for the whole team here? Those are questions we have to ask ourselves and the players that we want to bring back,” Marks told reporters.
"Do they want to be part of this? Are they motivated by something that's not good for the whole team here? Those are questions we have to ask ourselves and the players that we want to bring back."
- Sean Marks on team-building with Kyrie Irving and Ben Simmons pic.twitter.com/aIaEUAwQyA
— Nets Videos (@SNYNets)
When asked if the organization is committed to Kyrie long-term, Marks is non-committal — noting that he will have conversations with Kyrie in person in the near future and go from there.— Nick Friedell (@NickFriedell)
Irving only played 29 games during the 2021-22 season because he refused to comply with New York City’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
In three years with Brooklyn, Irving has only played in 103 out of a possible 226 regular-season games. Ben Simmons didn’t play at all for the Nets after the team acquired him in exchange for James Harden on Feb. 10.
Shortly before the start of the season, Marks indicated that there was a good chance both Irving and Harden would sign extensions to stay with the Nets. Harden was gone in just a few months, and now Irving’s future with the team is uncertain.
Durant signed a four-year, $198 million extension in August. Irving has expressed that he plans to stay in Brooklyn.
Irving has a $36.5 million player option for the 2022-23 season. The Nets can offer him a five-year extension worth around $245 million.
If Irving hits the open market, he might be hard-pressed to find a max contract in free agency. Only a handful of teams would have enough salary-cap space to make such an offer. The other 29 NBA teams can only offer Irving a four-year deal.
Both Irving and Kevin Durant signed with the Nets in 2019. Expected to compete for championships in Brooklyn for years to come, the duo has yet to reach the Eastern Conference Finals.
The Boston Celtics swept the Nets in the first round of the 2021 playoffs. After scoring 39 points in a Game 1 loss, Irving was held to 15.3 points per game on 37.2% shooting for the rest of the series.