Here’s a bit of news no one really expected. Brooklyn Nets star point guard Kyrie Irving had until June 29 to decide whether he wanted to pick up his $36.9 million player option for the 2022-23 season. The expectation was for Irving to opt-out, since that would have presented his best opportunity to land an even bigger contract, paying him more money in the long run.
This speculation led to the suggestion that Irving and the Nets were headed for a divorce, with Irving opting out, then choosing to sign a long-term agreement with another franchise, leading to a sign-and-trade.
But that doesn’t appear to be what’s happening at all, with Shams Charania reporting Irving has shockingly decided to opt-in to his contract for next season with the Nets.
- Kyrie Irving contract: $36.9 million in 2022-23
Irving shared this bit as well after picking up his option.
With the opt-in, Irving will be playing on an expiring contract and he can still be traded to another team, but he is no longer eligible for a sign-and-trade, preventing his potential new team from gaining long-term security with Irving.
Irving can however still work out a contract extension with the Nets, any time between now and June 30 of 2023 before hitting unrestricted free agency.
Related: Top 2022 NBA free agents: Bradley Beal, Zach LaVine poised to cash in this summer
Aftermath of Kyrie Irving staying in Brooklyn
Now that one of the major NBA dominoes of the offseason has fallen, Kevin Durant seems more likely to stay put as well. As is, the Nets have a superbly-talented group, and we have yet to see Ben Simmons with the superstar duo of Irving and Durant on the floor together.
Will this blow up the plans of several other NBA teams? It’s possible, but then again, Irving wasn’t the hot commodity, that was Durant. But still, if the Nets don’t blow it up, that’s one less team looking to make massive changes.
Irving must really have not liked the idea of the Los Angeles Lakers being the only team to have interest in his services. Who knows, but for now, Irving is set to run it back with the Nets for one more year.
Related: Brooklyn Nets preparing to lose Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant this offseason