Nets star Kyrie Irving holds a player option worth $36.5MM for next season, but the 30-year-old says he plans to re-sign with Brooklyn if he declines the option, as relayed by Andrew Lopez of ESPN.com. Turning down the option would allow Irving to become an unrestricted free agent.
“For me, it has always been about being comfortable and loving where I’m at. I love it here,” Irving said. “Once that summertime hits, I know we’ll have some conversations but there’s no way I could leave my man 7 [Kevin Durant] anywhere.”
Irving and Durant signed with the Nets in 2019, joining forces for the first time in their careers. Irving has only played in 20 games this season due to New York City’s vaccine mandates, but he’s averaged a career-high 28.5 points on 49% shooting from the floor.
The mandates have since been lifted, allowing Irving to play at home against Charlotte on Sunday. The seven-time All-Star will be seeking his second NBA championship this season. Should Irving return next season, Brooklyn will have most its core under contract, including Durant, Ben Simmons, Seth Curry and Joe Harris.
Of course, Irving also publicly committed to re-signing with Boston back in 2018, then reversed course by the time he eventually reached free agency in 2019, opting instead to join Brooklyn. He seems focused on taking a long-term approach with the team though, which should be viewed as good news for Nets fans.
“To be honest, I signed up for this for the long run,” Irving explained. “I love this year. I’m grateful. It has not been the prototypical year. But when I look at my teammates and I look at what we have as an organization. I’m looking for the long run and what we can do, legacy talk.”