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#pounditSaturday, March 25, 2023

Kyrie Irving surprisingly reverses course on Nets future

Feb 1, 2020; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) during the second half against the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Kyrie Irving appears to have played the NBA community like a fiddle.

Shams Charania of The Athletic reports that the Brooklyn Nets star has decided to opt into his $37 million player option with the team for next season. Charania adds that Irving intends to fulfill his four-year commitment to the Nets and to co-star Kevin Durant.

Charania also shared a statement from the seven-time All-Star Irving. The statement read, “Normal people keep the world going, but those who dare to be different lead us into tomorrow. I’ve made my decision to opt in. See you in the fall. A11even.”

That is a pretty stunning about-face for Irving, who looked to be as good as gone from Brooklyn just hours earlier. There was even talk that the 30-year-old star might be considering signing with a marquee team for a $6 million midlevel exception instead.

Having opted into the final year of his existing contract, Irving can no longer pursue a sign-and-trade deal. That means that he will be a Net next year for all intents and purposes (though Brooklyn can still trade Irving on their own accord). Durant’s short-term future in Brooklyn seems more secure now as well. But it still remains to be seen just how warmly Irving will be welcomed back, especially by a franchise owner who has recently sounded completely over Irving.

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