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#pounditFriday, December 2, 2022

Nets’ reported stance on Kyrie Irving contract revealed

Kyrie Irving wearing his Nets uniform

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 has a player option for next season that he is widely expected to decline, which means the Brooklyn Nets will have to make the star point guard a new contract offer if they want to keep him. According to one report, they may be content to let Irving walk.

A source familiar with the thought process in Brooklyn told Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News that the Nets are “outright unwilling” to sign Irving to a long-term contract this summer. That does not necessarily mean the Nets want Irving to leave, but they may simply prefer that he pick up his $36 million player option or agree to some sort of new short-term deal.

Kevin Durant will likely have significant input in whatever Brooklyn does this summer. It is unclear how he would feel about Irving leaving the Nets, and he may not have even discussed it with the team’s front office yet. According to Winfield, Durant has not spoken with Nets executives since the team was swept by the Boston Celtics in the first round of the playoffs.

Durant and Irving are friends. They chose to team up in Brooklyn, but injuries and off-court drama have made it so they have hardly played together over the past three seasons. Durant has seemingly always made basketball his top priority. The same cannot be said for Irving, and you have to wonder if that has taken a toll on K.D. just as it has the team’s front office.

Irving could not play in home games for much of this season due to his vaccination status. The year before, he was away from the Nets for a while for personal reasons. The Nets probably feel that there is always going to be something to take his focus away from the court. General manager Sean Marks even hinted at that recently while discussing Irving’s future in Brooklyn.

Irving is 30 and still one of the best players in the NBA when healthy and committed. If the Nets are truly unwilling to sign him to a long-term deal, they must feel the latter is too big of an ask.

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