National Basketball Association

Kyrie Irving to exercise $36M option, stay with Nets

7 hours ago

Superstar guard Kyrie Irving said he plans to opt into his $36.5 million option with the Brooklyn Nets, The Athletic and ESPN.com reported Monday.

"Normal people keep the world going, but those who dare to be different lead us into tomorrow," Irving said, The Athletic reported. "I've made my decision to opt in. See you in the fall. A11even."

The decision caps a whirlwind time, with Irving earlier having requested and received permission to seek a trade, the New York Daily News reported. The guard had initially sought a long-term deal with the Nets, but those discussions reached a stalemate given the organization's concerns with his commitment to playing.

Irving's decision doesn't necessarily mean he'll be wearing a Nets uniform next season. Brooklyn could still trade the guard — he'd be considered an expiring contract. But he wouldn't be eligible for a lucrative sign-and-trade deal, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported.

Earlier Wednesday, ESPN reported that the Los Angeles Lakers had been the only team to show interest in a sign-and-trade for Irving. L.A. is one of six teams said to be on the perennial All-Star guard's wish list, along with the Clippers, Knicks, Heat, 76ers and Mavericks

Irving averaged 27.4 points, 5.8 assists and 4.4 rebounds per game for the Nets last season, but he only played 29 regular-season games for Brooklyn because of his decision to not get the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Irving's decision to opt in probably will have an effect on the plans of his teammate, Kevin Durant. The star forward reportedly has not been in contact with the front office since the Nets were eliminated from the playoffs in April.

Will Kevin Durant finish his career in Brooklyn?

According to NBA writer Logan Murdock, Kevin Durant has reportedly not spoken to the Brooklyn Nets in weeks and is frustrated with the team for not growing to 'understand' Kyrie Irving.

Three years ago, Irving and Durant defected from this year's Finals participants — Durant from Golden State and Irving from Boston — to join forces in Brooklyn. Championship expectations ensued but never manifested, as Durant missed all of their first season together with a torn Achilles. Irving sat out significant parts of the past three seasons because of injuries and personal reasons.


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