When Brooklyn Nets star guard Kyrie Irving opted into the final year of his contract late last month, most figured that it was his way to angle for a trade.
Since then, Irving has been linked primarily to the Los Angeles Lakers in what would be a trade centered around Russell Westbrook. As things calm down on this front, we’re now hearing more from Brooklyn. The new information is somewhat surprising.
According to Brian Lewis of the NY Post, Kyrie Irving has not requested a trade and wants to remain with the Brooklyn Nets regardless of the Kevin Durant situation.
As noted in the report, Durant requested a trade shortly after Irving opted into his contract for next season. At that point, it seemed to be a foregone conclusion that both would leave the Nets after signing with them ahead of the 2019-20 season. Now, we can’t be too sure.
Do the Brooklyn Nets want Kyrie Irving?
That’s the larger question here. Irving is coming off a drama-filled 2021-22 campaign in which he sat out a vast majority of the season due to his stance against the COVID-19 vaccines and local mandates.
Immediately after Brooklyn’s ugly sweep at the hands of the Boston Celtics in the first round of the 2022 NBA Playoffs, reports surfaced that the Nets were looking to distance themselves from the former No. 1 pick. Comments from general manager Sean Marks did not dispel this notion.
“You want people here to be part of something bigger than themselves. It’s a team sports team game. It’s not individuals. We want people to be here for the right reasons, and buy into their roles, find their roles, high-character guys. We want to avoid the drama, we want to avoid the distractions. These last couple years here, whether it was expectation set on the team or some of the outside circumstances that were going on in the world, they affected our guys — both individually and as a group — really poorly, unfortunately.”Sean Marks following Nets’ first-round exit
Almost immediately after these comments, the Nets reportedly granted Irving’s request to seek a sign-and-trade partner. That might not be accurate based on this most-recent note from the NY Post.
- Kyrie Irving stats (2021-22): 27.4 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 5.8 APG, 47% shooting, 42% 3-point
As you can see, Irving is still one heck of a player. At issue here is his divisive nature and the off-court drama he’s created in Brooklyn. It’s led to a lack of interest in the 30-year-old former NBA champion.
Despite this report, Irving’s future in the Big Apple might in fact be tied to Durant. If KD rescinds his trade request, the idea of running it back makes sense. If not, bringing Irving back to a team with unrealistic championship aspirations wouldn’t make sense.
Stay tuned. The drama between Irving and his Nets was just taken to a whole new level. It’s anyone’s best guess what might happen next.
One way or another, something will come to a head here soon. Whether that means a reunion between Irving and Lebron James in Southern California remains to be seen. For now, this isn’t looking as likely as it was just a couple short weeks ago.