While he jumped ship on the Boston after the 2018-19 season, Nets guard Kyrie Irving doesn't plan on leaving Brooklyn any time soon despite being swept by the Celtics in the first round of the NBA playoffs on Monday.
"I don't really plan on going anywhere," Irving said of a potential contract extension after a 116-112 Game 4 loss at Barclays Center.
Irving has a $36.5 million player option for the 2022-23 season before becoming an unrestricted free agent. While he didn't say whether he would opt in, he told reporters he plans to re-sign with the Nets.
"When I say I'm here with Kev, I think that really entails us managing this franchise together alongside Joe and Sean," he said.
This isn't the first time Irving has made those comments. He also discussed his desire to remain in Brooklyn last month, telling reporters he loved playing for the Nets and that he wanted to build a legacy alongside Kevin Durant.
"I think for me, it has always been about being comfortable loving where I'm at, and I love it here," Irving said. "Once that summertime hits, I know that we'll have some conversations, but there's no way I could leave my man seven."
The 30-year-old signed a four-year, $141 million deal with the Nets before the 2019-20 season to team up with Durant in hopes of winning another NBA title. However, that has yet to happen.
Despite holding some of the best odds to win a championship, Brooklyn has not even reached the Eastern Conference Finals in the three seasons Irving and Durant have been together.
That said, Irving has still been statistically good for the Nets. Despite being unable to play in most of Brooklyn's home games because he wasn't in compliance with New York City's COVID-19 vaccine mandate, which wasn't amended until late in the regular season, the seven-time All-Star averaged 27.4 points, 4.4 rebounds and 5.8 assists while shooting 46.9 percent from the floor and 41.8 percent from deep in 29 games.
The Nets could look completely different next season, especially with the addition of Ben Simmons, who has yet to debut for the franchise since being acquired from the Philadelphia 76ers in the James Harden deal.
If Irving continues to play at a high level and the pieces come together around him and Durant, Brooklyn will have the potential to avenge its first-round loss to the Celtics in 2023.