Nets are unwilling to renew Kyrie Irving on a long-term deal, according to the report


Nets are unwilling to renew Kyrie Irving on a long-term deal, according to the report

To say the Brooklyn Nets’ season was a disappointment would be a massive understatement. This is a team that was considered title favorites at the start of the season. But instead, Brooklyn was swept by the Boston Celtics in the first round of the playoffs — leaving the Nets as the only team this postseason not to win a single game.

Several factors played into this result, as James Harden’s forced trade with the Philadelphia 76ers left the Nets as star players as their return leg from Ben Simmons wasn’t fit for a single game. Then there’s the even bigger factor that Kyrie Irving has played in just 29 games this season, due in part to New York City’s vaccination mandate and also the Nets’ unwillingness to let him play in road games until January. There was also Kevin Durant’s MCL injury that forced him to miss games for over a month and a half.

Injuries are things you can’t control, and the Harden-for-Simmons trade was also something the Nets had little control over given Harden’s desire to play in Philly. So as Brooklyn looks ahead to the offseason, one of the biggest things it might want to change is Irving’s long-term status with the team. Irving has a $36.5 million player option to turn down this summer to become an unrestricted free agent. He’s said multiple times that he wants to stay in Brooklyn, but the Nets might not feel that way about offering him a long-term deal.

Per New York Daily News:

“… The Nets’ hopes depend on an amicable resolution with Irving, whose personal decision not to get vaccinated and his unpredictable injury history made the Nets hesitate, and now, according to a source familiar with the Nets’ thought process, totally unwilling to grant him a long-term extension.”

That’s a pretty sharp change in the Nets’ stance from when general manager Sean Marks said he was confident before the start of this season Irving would sign an extension before training camp. Marks also said that Harden would be signed for an extension, but the universe obviously had other plans for it as well.

But given everything that’s transpired with Irving this season, most notably his refusal to get vaccinated and his injury history overall, it’s not surprising that Brooklyn is taking a more cautious approach with the All-Star guard. With COVID-19 cases spiking again across the country, there’s a chance that New York will reinstate its vaccination mandate, which could potentially knock Irving out of the way again.

Signing him for a long-term renewal comes with some risks, but no renewal either. If Irving declines his player option and the Nets come to the table with a new contract he doesn’t like, Brooklyn would risk losing it for nothing. It’s a significant risk to take, and it could have implications for Durant’s desire to stay in Brooklyn if Irving — part of Durant’s reason for signing there in the first place — is no longer on the team. Durant hasn’t spoken to Nets management since the team bounced off in the first round of the playoffs, according to the New York Daily News, and while that might be nothing, it could also be a sign of his frustration.

Irving has about a month to decide if he wants to sign up for the final year of his contract. Which also means the networks have equal time to decide what to do with him in the future. If Irving chooses to do so, it will only push the problem further into the summer of 2023. But if he decides against it and becomes an unrestricted free agent, Brooklyn will be forced to make some tough decisions about that team’s future.

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