As long he remains unvaccinated against COVID-19, All-Star guard Kyrie Irving would have more value in a market where he could play all 82 games than he currently does in Brooklyn, where a local vaccine mandate would prevent him from playing in more than half of the team’s games this season.
However, even if the Nets were to explore the trade market for Irving, they may not find a ton of enthusiastic suitors, according to Tim Bontemps and Bobby Marks of ESPN, who suggest the 29-year-old wouldn’t be a sure thing to report to a new team. Marc Stein of Substack conveys a similar sentiment in his latest article, writing that there’s a belief “in some corners of the league” that Irving would seriously consider retirement if the Nets were to trade him.
Irving’s unpredictable, mercurial nature is probably one reason why the Sixers, according to Stein, haven’t shown any interest yet in a exploring a trade involving Kyrie and Ben Simmons. Even if Irving were willing to join a new team, his ability to hit free agency in 2022 may diminish his appeal to potential suitors, including Philadelphia, says Stein.
Here’s more on Irving:
- Nets general manager Sean Marks previously expressed interest in signing Irving to a contract extension this offseason, but those discussions are “on ice” for now, sources tell Bontemps and Marks.
- The Nets explored the possibility of moving their practices outside of New York City to accommodate Irving, but decided against it for a variety of reasons, including a desire to have access to all their facilities, per Bontemps and Marks. Head coach Steve Nash has also said the Nets haven’t been in communication with Irving about his personal workouts while he’s away from the team. “It’s not something we’ve discussed,” Nash said.
- James Harden stated on Thursday that Irving’s absence would hurt the Nets, since he’s “one of our best players and one of our leaders,” as NetsDaily relays. However, while Harden said he “of course” wants Kyrie to be on the team, he added that he’s not disappointed by his teammate’s stance. “It’s not disappointing at all. It’s not disappointing,” Harden said. “Kai believes in what he believes in. His family is behind him, we’re behind him. That’s all that it is.”