Kyrie Irving

Latest On Kyrie Irving

It will take a cultural “reset” for Kyrie Irving to succeed with the Nets, ESPN’s Adrian Wojanrowski said in an appearance on “Get Up” Wednesday morning (video link).

Irving has opted in to his $36.9MM salary for next season, ending speculation that he might consider free agency, but his decision doesn’t seem to have settled anything in Brooklyn. Wojnarowski stated that rival teams will continue to monitor the Nets’ situation to see if they will consider trading Irving, either during the summer or once the season starts.

Woj also said the organization needs Irving and Kevin Durant to become team leaders heading into free agency and to help develop a plan for next season. Brooklyn has important decisions to make on a number of free agents, most notably Nic Claxton and possibly Patty Mills.

Appearing on the same show, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst revealed that Nets owner Joe Tsai and general manager Sean Marks won’t accept a continuation of the atmosphere that surrounded the team this season. He adds that the permissive approach the Nets have taken with Irving over the past three years factored into extension talks.

“It wasn’t just about how Kyrie treated the vaccine mandate, it was about how he treated his teammates and how Kyrie Irving treated his coaches,” Windhorst said. “So part of this renegotiation wasn’t just gonna be about a contract extension. It was gonna be about a renegotiation of the way the team operated. And, by the way, this wasn’t a Kyrie Irving issue. The team gave Irving all of this leverage as the way they operated over the past three years.”

Windhorst noted that there’s an urgency that goes beyond Irving’s message of “see you in the fall” when he announced his opt-in decision. He stressed that Irving needs to engage with management now and prove that he’s able to move beyond the “status quo” that resulted in a first-round playoff sweep.

There’s more on the Irving situation:

  • In a separate clip, ESPN’s Tim Bontemps called Irving’s extension negotiations an “acrimonious process” and debated with Windhorst about whether a deal with the Lakers involving Russell Westbrook and draft compensation could eventually become an option.
  • The Lakers were considered the leaders in the effort to work out a sign-and-trade for Irving, but the Mavericks, Heat and Sixers investigated their options as well, Shams Charania of The Athletic said in an appearance on The Pat McAfee Show (hat tip to Clutch Points).
  • Irving posted a video Tuesday with his first comments since deciding to opt in, relays Brian Lewis of The New York Post“This is a great moment in my spiritual path, being present enough to understand that it’s not me doing all this. At this point I’m being pushed in certain directions,” Irving said, adding, “You can’t be afraid to make mistakes, in private or out in the open. The mistakes that you do make, you’ve got to learn from them.”

Kyrie Irving Came Close To Extension Agreement With Nets

Kyrie Irving and the Nets were close to agreeing on a contract extension last week before negotiations stalled, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic. Without an extension and with limited prospects of an acceptable sign-and-trade deal, Irving will pick up his $36.9MM option for next season.

Before Irving reached the decision, his agent (and stepmother) Shetellia Riley Irving and Brooklyn’s front office had “productive extension discussions” over the past week, according to Charania. They considered multiple proposals, including a maximum extension that would have been limited to two years and would have provided incentives based on the number of games that Irving plays.

The sides also discussed a four-year max deal with two guaranteed seasons, along with triggers for years three and four based on Irving’s game totals for the first two seasons of the contract.

Irving was willing to accept a contract with incentives, Charania adds, but Brooklyn turned down his final offer, which was a short-term extension with protections for him and the team, along with a player option. Incentives based on how often Irving plays are important to the Nets because he has appeared in just 103 regular season games in his three seasons in Brooklyn.

According to Charania, three teams were had interest in Irving under an opt-in-and-trade scenario, but he decided not to pursue those opportunities. One of those teams may have been the Lakers, who were reportedly the only club on Irving’s wish list of six potential destinations that showed interest. However, Charania hears that L.A.’s preference was to sign Irving as a free agent rather than via trade.

Irving’s decision to opt in doesn’t guarantee that his future will be in Brooklyn, Charania adds. With unrestricted free agency looming in 2023, the Nets could explore deals for him this summer or once the season starts. Owner Joe Tsai and general manager Sean Marks will have to decide whether the current roster can contend for a title or if major changes will be needed.

Charania also suggests there are “matters of contention” among the Nets’ ownership, management, and stars that must be addressed as all parties move forward.

Several teams remain interested in acquiring Irving, according to Charania, but they may be inclined to wait until he reaches free agency rather than part with valuable assets in a trade. Sources tell Charania that Irving is now focused on winning a championship and rebuilding his reputation in hopes of earning a maximum contract from someone next summer.

New York Rumors: Knicks, Brunson, Burks, Nets, Claxton, Kyrie

The Knicks have “legitimate optimism” about their chances of signing free agent point guard Jalen Brunson, Ian Begley of SNY.tv reports, citing people in touch with the organization since the draft.

Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report conveyed a similar sentiment during his latest podcast, suggesting that the Knicks may have moved ahead of the Mavericks as the favorites to lock up Brunson long-term this offseason (hat tip to HoopsHype).

As Begley observes, the Knicks still have some work to do if they want to create the cap room necessary to make Brunson a strong offer — trading either Alec Burks or Nerlens Noel may be the most likely path to opening up that space.

Burks underwent foot surgery this spring after the Knicks’ season ended, and while that procedure has reportedly hurt his trade value, Begley says there are still multiple teams with some interest in the veteran guard, including the Celtics.

Here’s more on the NBA’s two New York teams:

  • Fred Katz of The Athletic spoke to 16 officials in NBA front offices to get a sense of how much they’d be willing to offer RJ Barrett in extension talks this offseason if they were running the Knicks. According to Katz, the responses ranged from $15-30MM per year, with no one saying they would go up to the max. A four-year, $100MM offer was the most-cited suggestion, Katz adds.
  • In the latest episode of his Hoop Collective podcast, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said that restricted free agent center Nic Claxton appears likely to remain with the Nets (audio link via Jac Manuell of Nets Republic). “The word is amongst executives, I’ve talked to a couple of executives today who believe that Nic Claxton will be back with the Nets, that that’s been worked out,” Windhorst said. “I shouldn’t say it’s been worked out. There’s an understanding.”
  • In the same podcast, Windhorst wondered whether or not the standoff between the Nets and Kyrie Irving has truly been put to bed after Irving announced he’ll pick up his player option for 2022/23. “I was told that the option pick-up came as a total surprise to the Nets, that they found out when everybody else did,” Windhorst said, per NetsDaily. “… The people that I talk to in the league are skeptical that Kyrie is going to be ‘all for one and one for all’ on this. … The people who are in the business to earn the business are telling me, ‘No, Kyrie actually has leverage here,’ because now he’s making the $36 million, he’s got his money and he can make life hell.”
  • In an Insider-only story for ESPN.com, Kevin Pelton considers what’s next for the Nets now that Irving has decided to opt in.

Kyrie Irving Opts In To Final Year Of Contract

10:30pm: Irving has officially opted in, according to RealGM’s transactions log.


5:50pm: Kyrie Irving has decided to opt in to his contract for 2022/23, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets. By exercising the $36.9MM option, Irving is bypassing multiple opt-in-and-trade scenarios in order to fulfill his four-year commitment to the Nets and Kevin Durant, according to Charania (Twitter links).

Irving is entering the final year of his four-year, $136.5MM deal.

“Normal people keep the world going, but those who dare to be different lead us into tomorrow,” Irving said in a statement. “I’ve made my decision to opt in. See you in the fall. A11even.”

By exercising his option, Irving is now both extension- and trade-eligible, though it doesn’t sounds as if either is happening in coordination with the opt-in. The seven-time All-Star will remain extension-eligible up until next June 30 and could tack on up to four years to his expiring deal.

If Irving signs an extension exceeding two years, he would become ineligible to be traded for the next six months; if he’s traded, he would be ineligible to sign an extension longer than two years for the next six months.

Irving’s contract option technically has a base value of about $36.5MM, but the cap hit is $36.9MM due to likely incentives, and it can go as high as $37.7MM if he reaches all his incentives.

The opt-in closes the door on the possibility of Irving of taking a massive pay cut and signing with a new team, such as the Lakers, for the mid-level exception. However, it’s unlikely the drama surrounding Kyrie will end any time soon — since he’s now on track for unrestricted free agency in 2023, he could reemerge as a trade candidate within the next year if he and the Nets don’t agree to an extension.

The Nets, who were reportedly unwilling to offer Irving a long-term contract, have been playing hardball in negotiations with the 30-year-old and essentially threw it in his lap to find a viable sign-and-trade scenario. He was unable to do so, which has led him to exercising the option, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets. Irving had until 5:00 pm ET on Wednesday to officially make a decision on that option.

Earlier in the day, it was reported that the Lakers were the only team willing to engage in serious sign-and-trade talks with Brooklyn and they lacked attractive pieces to ship back to the Nets in a potential deal.

With Irving’s future up in the air during the last week, multiple reports indicated that Durant was also mulling his options. But with Irving seemingly on track to return to the Nets for next season, Durant presumably won’t be looking for an exit ramp out of Brooklyn.

Windhorst: Nets, Kyrie Irving Engaged In “Grade-A Staredown”

With less than 48 hours remaining for Kyrie Irving to make a decision on his $36.9MM player option for 2022/23, he and the Nets are engaged in a “Grade-A staredown,” ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said during an appearance today on NBA Today (video links).

Since Irving and the Nets reached an impasse in their contract extension talks, there have been rumors suggesting that Kyrie is willing to walk away from the Nets and to potentially take a $30MM+ pay cut for the 2022/23 season by signing with the Lakers using their $6.4MM taxpayer mid-level exception.

However, the Nets haven’t backed down in their negotiations with the seven-time All-Star and are playing hardball themselves, even with Kevin Durant‘s future in Brooklyn potentially tied to Irving’s, according to Windhorst.

“The message that is being sent around the league – and before I say this, this could just be a negotiating position – but the message the Brooklyn Nets are sending is that they are willing to risk losing Kevin Durant if it means (not) going through what they went through last year with Kyrie Irving,” Windhorst said. “They just cannot have him back under the same terms that they had last year. I think they would be willing to welcome him back under different terms, both contractual and an understanding with the organization. But if it costs them both players to avoid a repeat of last year, they are sending the message that they are willing to do that.”

Irving’s decision not to get vaccinated against COVID-19, despite New York City’s vaccine mandate, was a major factor in him suiting up for just 29 of 82 possible regular season games in 2021/22. That mandate wasn’t lifted until late in the regular season and Irving’s inconsistent availability contributed not just to the Nets’ inconsistent play but to James Harden‘s decision to request a trade.

As Windhorst explains, the Nets’ stance in their negotiations with Irving – which has been driven not just by management by but owner Joe Tsai – has sent “ripple effects” across the NBA, as teams around the league consider where Kyrie could end up and what it might take to trade for Durant.

“I have talked to several star players’ agents in the last 24 hours whose teams have come to the star player and said, ‘How do you feel about playing with Kyrie Irving? How do you feel about playing with Kevin Durant?'” Windhorst said. “Teams are preparing for this contingency.”

The Nets are likely willing to take an aggressive stance in their talks with Irving at least in part because most of the teams he would be interested in joining either don’t appear eager to pursue him or would be hard-pressed to find a way to acquire him. The Lakers, Sixers, Heat, Mavericks, Clippers, and Knicks are reportedly on Irving’s wish list, but many of those clubs don’t reciprocate his interest, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Wojnarowski reported earlier today that only the Lakers have legitimate sign-and-trade interest in Irving, and their trade chips don’t appeal to Brooklyn, which is why accepting the $6.4MM taxpayer MLE might be Kyrie’s only viable path to Los Angeles.

If Irving picks up his player option for 2022/23, it would make him easier to trade, but the Nets would also be under no obligation to make a move at that point — the two sides would have all season to potentially negotiate an extension.

“It seems to me that the Nets want Kyrie to opt in because that relieves the pressure a little bit and it buys more time,” Windhorst said. “He can negotiate for a period of time. He doesn’t have to decide on the extension this week. They can try to figure things out — it removes the immediate pressure, and I think that’s probably the best. Because at the end of the day, the Nets don’t want to lose Kevin Durant. The Nets could have a very good team for next year. … They don’t want to blow this up, but they are willing to bring it to the precipice to blow it up to try to get what they want.”

Kyrie Irving Granted Permission To Explore Trade Scenarios

12:17pm: According to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report (Twitter link), sources with knowledge of the situation increasingly believe that Irving is willing to decline his player option and sign with the Lakers for the $6.4MM taxpayer mid-level exception.

In that scenario, Fischer writes, Irving could get a raise and a longer-term deal from the Lakers in 2023. The team still doesn’t project to have enough room to offer him a max contract at that point, but could theoretically get close.

Meanwhile, in his full story on the Irving situation, Wojnarowski writes that Durant “remained an advocate” for the Nets to give Kyrie a long-term deal.


11:42am: The Nets and Kyrie Irving haven’t made any real progress toward reaching an agreement that will keep him in Brooklyn going forward, writes Kristian Winfield of The New York Daily News.

In fact, according to Winfield, Irving’s camp has requested and received permission from the Nets to speak to other teams about potential trade scenarios. Alex Schiffer of The Athletic and Brian Lewis of The New York Post (Twitter links) have heard the same thing.

Although those reports suggest Irving’s camp is looking into possible “sign-and-trade packages,” many of the teams said to be on the point guard’s wish list wouldn’t have the ability to acquire him via sign-and-trade due to their proximity to the projected luxury tax line.

Sign-and-trade talks also technically aren’t allowed until free agency begins this Thursday evening, as ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski notes (via Twitter). While teams and agents often play fast and loose with those rules, they may be a little more hesitant to do so this year after two teams were penalized last year for “gun-jumping” violations related to sign-and-trade agreements.

[RELATED: Hoops Rumors Glossary: Sign-And-Trades]

Opt-in-and-trade scenarios – in which Irving picks up his $36.9MM player option for 2022/23 – would be more viable for many potential trade partners. Kyrie has until Wednesday to make a final decision on his option, and there’s a sense in both league and player circles that he may have played his last game in Brooklyn, says Winfield.

According to Wojnarowski, however, no teams besides the Lakers are seriously considering the idea of pursuing Irving, and Brooklyn isn’t believed to have interest in any trade package L.A. could realistically offer.

Wojnarowski’s report is similar to what he said during a TV appearance on Friday (hat tip to NetsDaily). At that time, Woj described the talks between the Nets and Irving as “acrimonious,” but suggested that no teams besides the Lakers were thought to have serious interest in the point guard. The other clubs reported to be on Irving’s wish list are the Mavericks, Heat, Clippers, Knicks, and Sixers.

“The interest isn’t mutual in several of these places,” Wojnarowski said on ESPN.

Here are more updates on the Irving situation:

  • According to Sam Amick of The Athletic, there are sources close to the situation who “strongly believe” Irving is trying to make his way to the Lakers. Amick, who gets the sense that LeBron James is “very open” to the idea, notes that most people around the NBA believe the Nets would have zero interest in taking on Russell Westbrook in any trade with the Lakers.
  • Amick has heard that the Knicks have no interest in Irving and expect him to end up remaining in Brooklyn. Amick describes the Clippers as in “wait-and-see” mode when it comes to Kyrie.
  • Even with the threat of Irving’s departure seemingly increasing and Kevin Durant‘s future uncertain, the Nets appear unlikely to relent and offer Kyrie a long-term maximum-salary contract, ESPN’s Zach Lowe said during a Monday appearance on Get Up (video link). “Everything I’ve heard, the max deal is not coming. The Nets are not going to be held hostage by the threat of Kyrie Irving (leaving) and then Kevin Durant following him out the door,” Lowe said. “They appear ready to actually take some kind of stand here. That doesn’t mean that there’s not going to be a fair compromise offer somewhere, wherever that lands.”
  • While Lowe did suggest that a compromise between Irving and the Nets is possible, he believes Kyrie’s flight risk is real: “I do think this is a precarious situation for the Nets. I don’t think this is the kind of thing where it’s actually kind of calm and the media is blowing this out of proportion. I do think there are scenarios where in a week he’s gone and the Durant situation is wobbly.”

Atlantic Notes: Tsai, Irving, Nets, Celtics, Thybulle

As of Thursday night, Nets owner Joe Tsai was supporting general manager Sean Marks‘ decision not to offer Kyrie Irving a max extension, according to Ian Begley of SNY.tv. Irving has until June 29 to decide whether to exercise his $36.9MM player option for next season, and the two sides seem to be far apart in negotiations on an extension.

Should Irving leave, it could prompt Kevin Durant to further consider his situation with the Nets, as we previously relayed. Irving didn’t get vaccinated this season, so he only appeared in 29 games due to New York City’s vaccine requirement. He averaged 27.4 points, 4.4 rebounds and 5.8 assists during those outings, shooting 47%.

We have more notes from the Atlantic Division to pass along:

Kevin Durant Reportedly Losing Confidence In Nets’ Management

Kevin Durant hasn’t talked to anyone from the Nets in weeks and is losing confidence in the team’s ability to handle the contract standoff with Kyrie Irving, Logan Murdock of The Ringer said on a recent podcast (hat tip to NetsDaily).

There has been growing speculation over the past week that Durant may force his way out if Brooklyn can’t re-sign Irving. Murdock said that decision isn’t inevitable, but warned that concerns about the potential “destruction” of the current roster are legitimate.

“I don’t know if he’s at the stage of leaving but there’s a big uneasiness from not only from the Kyrie side, but the KD side as well,” Murdock said.

Brooklyn was lauded as the NBA’s next super team when Durant, Irving and DeAndre Jordan decided to sign there as free agents in 2019. James Harden was added in a January 2021 deal to form a Big Three, but things haven’t gone as planned. The Nets have captured just one playoff series in that span, Harden is already gone and the other two stars appear to be in danger of leaving as well.

Murdock explained that when Durant chose Brooklyn, he had a vision of competing for titles while playing alongside his friends. Because that hasn’t happened, Durant is beginning to consider his options, especially if Irving doesn’t return.

“His biggest beef is that he feels that the front office didn’t grow to understand Kyrie, whatever that means,” Murdock said. “I would push back on that when a guy leaves for two weeks at a time … Kyrie earns the lion’s share of the blame. But I think KD believes that ‘hey, you guys didn’t understand this guy. You didn’t try to figure out where he was coming from.’”

Durant is also unhappy about the Nets’ reported parting with Adam Harrington as an assistant coach and director of development. Harrington was Durant’s shooting coach with the Thunder and is a longtime friend.

Murdock adds that Durant chose not to be involved in the Nets’ free agent recruiting process this year after having been active on that front in past offseasons.

Pacific Notes: Ayton, Suns, Irving, Lakers, Warriors

Suns restricted free agent Deandre Ayton received support from his teammates this week, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic writes. Key players Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson expressed hope Ayton will return next season, although recent reports suggest it’s still unclear.

“From my perspective, personally, definitely somebody I always want on my team,” Johnson said. “We want all of our guys (to stay). What we’ve been able to build, what we’ve been able to go through together these last couple of years has meant a lot to us. You kind of bond with a guy in a big way going through that process together.”

The Suns won a franchise-record 64 games this season, but lost to the Mavericks in seven games during the second round. Phoenix has the right to match any offer sheet Ayton signs with a rival club. If Ayton prefers to leave, the team could also work out a sign-and-trade agreement.

Here are some other notes from the Pacific:

  • Suns general manager James Jones remains optimistic Ayton will stay, Rankin writes in a different article for the Arizona Republic. “Nothing has changed on our end,” Jones explained. “We haven’t said anything different. DA remains a huge part of what we do and he’s a free agent. So we’ll talk about free agency when that time comes, but that hasn’t changed. I think you hear his teammates. They echo the same sentiment that we have. This team is a really good team and we’re going to keep it together.” 
  • Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register explores Kyrie Irving‘s uncertain situation, posing four questions the Lakers should ask themselves before pursuing him. While Irving may fit well on the court, the Lakers could struggle to acquire him. If Irving declines of his $36.5MM player option and seeks a multi-year deal, the team currently doesn’t have the cap space to sign him. If he opts in, offering an appealing trade package to Brooklyn without involving a third or fourth team would be difficult.
  • In a story for Yahoo Sports, Vincent Goodwill examines how the Warriors revived their dynasty. Golden State welcomed back a healthy Klay Thompson this season, adding him to a core of Stephen Curry, Jordan Poole, Andrew Wiggins, Draymond Green and others. The result was a fourth championship in the past eight seasons for the franchise.

Atlantic Notes: Durant, Harden, Anunoby, Koloko, Celtics

As rumors swirl that Kyrie Irving is entertaining an exit out of Brooklyn that could impact Kevin Durant‘s future with the Nets, Durant himself said on the ETCs podcast that he doesn’t plan to get involved in Irving’s free agency decision.

“This is this man’s livelihood. This is much bigger than me,” Durant said, according to NetsDaily. “Being a free agent, it’s one of the most important times in your career. That can’t be swayed by anybody else. I just do me and wait for the time.

“There’s nothing that can happen right now. I don’t think he can even make a decision on opting out until the 29th, I think. I just let things play out and see what happens, but keep the regular contact up with Kai and see what happens. It’s something that’s so much out of my control that I don’t want to be a part of it. We’ll see what happens though.”

Asked about this week’s reports about him and Irving, Durant downplayed them without dismissing them entirely.

“It’s just reports. You know, that go around this time, the draft, the Finals just ended. You just got to keep that dialogue going, keep that engagement going. So, obviously, it’s an interesting topic,” Durant said. “There’s a lot going on with our team. Uncertainty with Ben (Simmons) not playing with us, us being swept in the playoffs, Kyrie’s situation being a free agent. So there’s a lot of certainty with our team. I understand why there’s so much noise around us, but as individuals, you control what you can. If the time’s right, everything will work out for itself.”

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Asked about James Harden‘s contract situation on Thursday, Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey didn’t offer up any specifics, but expressed optimism about the relationship going forward, writes Noah Levick of NBC Sports Philadelphia. “As you guys have heard, it’s a mutual lovefest, so we feel like we’ll work it out,” Morey said.
  • The Trail Blazers engaged in a “full-court press” this week in an effort to acquire OG Anunoby from the Raptors, but Toronto was unmoved, reports Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca. While that doesn’t rule out the possibility of Anunoby being traded later in the offseason, head coach Nick Nurse said on Thursday that “guys like him are hard to find in this league.”
  • Within the same story, Grange writes that the Raptors‘ No. 33 pick – Christian Koloko – brings the sort of height and rim-protecting ability that the team had been lacking. “It’s something we don’t have,” general manager Bobby Webster said of Koloko’s skill set.
  • The Celtics have done their homework on the players that fit into their $17MM+ trade exception and have considered various scenarios, but haven’t found one they like yet, president of basketball operations Brad Stevens said during his post-draft media session on Thursday. “If that thing vanishes because we don’t find the right deal, we still have two other (trade exceptions) that don’t expire until the trade deadline,” Stevens said, per Keith Smith of Spotrac (Twitter links). As our tracker shows, Boston’s $17MM exception will expire on July 18, at which point the team will still have TPEs worth about $7MM and $6MM.