Nets Reportedly Intend To Keep Kyrie Irving

The Nets are making it clear to rival teams that they intend to keep Kyrie Irving, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who writes that Irving has been “working out with teammates and holding constructive dialogue with the organization” this summer.

Brooklyn reportedly granted Irving permission to explore trade scenarios at the end of June, but only the Lakers were said to be seriously interested in the point guard, who ultimately chose to pick up his $36.9MM player option for 2022/23.

Recent reports from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and veteran NBA reporter Marc Stein indicated that the Lakers are willing to include both their 2027 and 2029 first-round picks to acquire Irving, but that would involve Russell Westbrook heading to Brooklyn, and the Nets are said to be uninterested in that scenario.

Assuming Kevin Durant remains on the roster into the season, a reunion between Irving and the Nets always made the most sense, as the 30-year-old’s value is at an all-time low and the only realistic pathway to rebuilding it is to have a good season with less off-court drama. The seven-time All-Star only appeared in 29 of Brooklyn’s 82 games last season due to his refusal to get vaccinated against COVID-19, but that seems unlikely to be an issue next season, as the New York City mandate was lifted in the spring and there are no plans for a league-wide mandate.

Despite his inconsistent availability and unpredictable personality, Irving has been undeniably effective and productive when on the court, averaging 27.4 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 5.8 APG and 1.4 SPG on .469/.418/.915 shooting during the ’21/22 regular season (37.6 MPG). Matching that level of production for a team that hopes to contend for a title would be nearly impossible for the Nets, given the relative lack of interest in Irving’s services.

As Stein wrote last week, it’s possible Brooklyn’s stance regarding Irving could change if Durant ends up being dealt, but considering Irving is said to be the primary reason Durant joined the Nets, trading his friend away would seemingly only embolden Durant to make further demands.

View Comments (32)