There’s a lot going on with the 2022 NBA Draft just hours away. Shortly after the draft concludes, the chaos of NBA free agency will begin. Among that frenzy includes a pending decision between Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets.
For now, Irving has until June 29 to decide whether he wants to pick up his $36.9 million player option for the 2022-23 season. But it may not be that simple. Irving likely wants long-term security that lasts longer than one year, and the Nets maybe don’t. Yet they also don’t want to risk Irving leaving as a free agent.
This has spawned a mini-deadline of sorts where both Irving and the team need to determine his future in Brooklyn. Can they reach an agreement on a contract extension if Irving opts out? Or is everyone just better off parting ways, via a sign-and-trade that essentially allows Irving to land with one of his preferred teams?
Lakers, Knicks on Kyrie Irving’s list of next teams to play for
On draft day, news emerged that if Kyrie Irving and the Nets can’t come to a mutual agreement to stick around in Brooklyn, he has a number of teams he’d prefer to land with instead, according to Adrian Wojnarowski. Here’s the list, in no particular order. And it should also be noted, based on the wording of his tweet, that this may not be the full list. Woj notes he “has a list of teams, including”:
- Los Angeles Lakers
- Los Angeles Clippers
- New York Knicks
- Miami Heat
- Dallas Mavericks
- Philadelphia 76ers
None of these teams currently have the cap space needed to sign Irving outright if he simply declined his player option to become an immediate free agent. However, each team could go the sign-and-trade route and work something out with the Nets.
Woj also adds that while Irving may have interest in each of the above teams, the feeling may not be mutual. We’ll see where this goes, but the first shoe to drop will be whether Irving and the Nets can agree to an extension. If not, what will it mean for Kevin Durant’s future with Brooklyn?
Related: NBA insider suggests Miami Heat could be ideal landing spot for Kyrie Irving: 3 trade scenarios