Kyrie Irving, Nets Haven't Discussed Contract Extension Yet, GM Sean Marks Says

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVMay 18, 2022

Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) runs up the court during the first half of Game 4 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Boston Celtics, Monday, April 25, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
AP Photo/John Minchillo

Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks said the front office has yet to discuss a contract extension with point guard Kyrie Irving.

Marks told Michael Grady of the YES Network (via Brian Lewis of the New York Post) that he won't know until those talks with Irving about whether an extension is the "right fit for both sides." Irving holds a player option in his contract for 2022-23, 

"I look forward to [it]," Marks said Monday. "We have not had a conversation yet. So I look forward to getting in a room with him and [team owner] Joe [Tsai] and his team, and we will. We'll see what it looks like for Kyrie moving forward here, and what he needs from us and so forth."

In March, the seven-time All-Star indicated he planned to remain in Brooklyn alongside Kevin Durant.

"I love it here," Irving told reporters. "Once summertime hits, I know that we'll have some conversations, but there's no way I can leave my man 7 anywhere."

Marks has taken a less-certain status on whether Irving will remain a key part of their roster-building process for the future.

Instead, the Nets' general manager said they're looking for players who can help them "avoid the drama," per Lewis.

"You want people here to be part of something bigger than themselves," Marks said. "It's a team sport, 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."

He added the "distractions" over the past few years have affected the team "really poorly."

Irving missed the start of the 2021-22 season because the Nets wanted him to become a full-time contributor before making him part of the active roster. That wasn't possible because he wasn't vaccinated against COVID-19, which made him ineligible for home games.

The 30-year-old Duke product returned in January when the team was desperately seeking reinforcements amid injuries and COVID-19-related absences, but he didn't become eligible to play in New York City until March when the city lifted its vaccine mandate for performers.

By then, it was too late for the Nets to get all of the moving pieces to fit together before the playoffs, and they were quickly swept by the Boston Celtics in the opening round.

Irving's status wasn't the only thing to hold the team back, though.

James Harden started to cause a stir before the trade deadline in February when it became apparent he wanted a move out of Brooklyn, and Ben Simmons, who was acquired in the Harden trade, never made an appearance for the team after the deal because of a back injury and a focus on his mental health.

The lack of lineup continuity as a whole was the biggest reason the Nets failed to live up to expectations, and it's clear Marks is aiming to end those issues as soon as possible.

That said, it's hard to imagine Brooklyn letting Irving walk in free agency. He's too valuable, and the franchise is in win-now mode, which means it would have to replace him anyway.

Marks could be setting the tone for a shorter contract than the long-term super max, however, which could leave the organization with less risk if things don't work out over the next few years.

Whether Irving would be interested in that type of deal is unknown, so there's definitely some intrigue as the sides prepare for contract talks during the offseason.