Conversations between the Nets and Kyrie Irving about his future have “gone stagnant,” according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who hears from sources that the two sides are currently at an impasse. The deadlock could prompt the star guard to consider other destinations, Charania reports.
Irving said after the Nets’ season ended that he didn’t plan to go anywhere, and a report just two weeks ago suggested he was likely to remain in Brooklyn. However, negotiations between his camp and the Nets were always expected to be challenging, given that his stock has dipped a little in recent years and he no longer seems like a good bet to land a fully guaranteed long-term maximum salary contract.
Irving has been as productive as ever when he has played for the Nets over the last three seasons, averaging 27.1 points, 6.0 assists, and 4.7 rebounds per game on .490/.406/.920 shooting. However, injuries and personal decisions have limited him to just 103 appearances out of a possible 226 regular season games during that time and have raised questions about his reliability going forward.
Charania writes that the Nets and Irving have “serious work to do” to resolve his contract situation and ensure he remains in Brooklyn. If Kyrie does consider heading elsewhere, the Lakers, Clippers, and Knicks are expected to be among his suitors, sources tell The Athletic.
As Charania observes, the Lakers and Clippers project to be over the tax apron for the 2022/23 season, likely ruling out the possibility of a sign-and-trade. So if he wants to go to either L.A. team, Irving would probably have to pick up his $36.9MM player option with an understanding that a trade is coming. The Knicks don’t project to have cap room, but would have the cap flexibility to pursue Irving via sign-and-trade if he declines his option to become an unrestricted free agent.
The Clippers and Knicks are in a better position to make a viable trade offer for Irving than the Lakers, who would almost certainly have to include Russell Westbrook‘s $47MM+ expiring deal in any package for salary-matching purposes.