Monday morning, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that the Brooklyn Nets and Kyrie Irving are at an impasse on Irving’s future with the Nets. This comes as the latest chapter in the ongoing back and forth between Irving and Nets management.
After Kyrie decided he wouldn’t get vaccinated, Brooklyn paused all extension conversations. The star guard has a player option he still has to decide on this offseason. At the end of the season presser, Nets general manager Sean Marks had this to say about Brooklyn’s commitment to Irving long-term.
Are the Nets committed to Kyrie Irving long-term?
"He has some decisions to make on his own. We're looking for guys that want to be something bigger than themselves, play team basketball, and be available. That goes for Kyrie and everybody here." pic.twitter.com/yRoLbayv8Z
— Nets Videos (@SNYNets) May 11, 2022
With talk regarding Irving’s future on pause for now, here are a few possible solutions that could come out of the situation.
Kyrie Irving opts-in
The solution most Nets fans would want would be for Kyrie to opt into his player option. Kyrie continues to play for the team he grew up a fan of, and the Nets continue to have one of the best guards in the league on their team. This is likely to be the best solution for both parties involved.
Irving’s production was tremendous when he was finally able to play last season. Irving was picking up where he left off the season prior by shooting efficiently from the field and putting up some of the best scoring performances in Nets history. He and Kevin Durant are one of the best duos in the league, and if the Nets want to make a run at a championship, they might as well keep those two together to build around. But that could ultimately be up to if Irving wants to come back.
The Nets can let Kyrie Irving walk.
So say the Nets and Irving resume talks, and the Nets ultimately decide not to bring Irving back or not commit to him long term. They would potentially have to pay for the consequences in the long term.
Letting Irving walk without anything in return would be a total loss for the Nets, especially if they want to contend. It might be unfeasible to replace Irving in any trade or free agency signing. The Nets acquired Ben Simmons via trade last season, but he wouldn’t be the replacement the Nets need for Irving. It would actually hurt them more by trying to find a replacement for Irving than keeping him on the team.
Kyrie Irving gets traded.
But that’s not to say that replacing Irving is entirely impossible. There’s a chance that the Nets could find a trade that equals Kyrie’s value right away. The trade would have to include an established star and likely a first-round pick. There are stars out there that can provide what Kyrie can production-wise and could fit the team better than he can. But that’s another risk the Nets will have to be willing to take.
There’s a chance that things can go well for both sides. If they can build around their core correctly, the Nets have what it takes to be champions next season. A good season from Irving could result in the Nets investing in him on a long-term deal. If the Nets are willing to bring him back and it all works out, we’ll all be laughing at this moment a year from now.
With free agency weeks away, it’ll be interesting to see what direction the Nets take. It is rumored that Irving could end up with the Los Angeles Lakers or the New York Knicks. We’ll all just have to stay posted and find out when decisions are made.