Kyrie Irving Rumors: Opposing Teams Believe Nets Would Be Open to Sign-And-Trade

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVMay 26, 2022

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 25: Kyrie Irving of Brooklyn Nets warms up before NBA playoffs between Brooklyn Nets and Boston Celtics at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn of New York City, United States on April 25, 2022. (Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Kyrie Irving's future with the Brooklyn Nets after a disappointing season and with a $36.5 million player option for 2022-23 figures to be a major storyline this offseason, and some teams around the league reportedly believe the seven-time All-Star could be at the center of a sign-and-trade.

Ian Begley of SNY reported "opposing teams believe the club will be open to exploring trades of Irving'' should contract discussions stall.

Yet Begley explained the point guard opting out is still "most likely" to end in him returning with a new contract because he "would have to agree to a sign-and-trade and the Nets would have to feel that the return on the trade made sense for them. They’d also have to take back a significant amount of salary."

Thursday's report comes one day after Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News reported Irving's "personal decision not to get vaccinated and unpredictable injury history have left the Nets hesitant, and now, according to a source familiar with the Nets' thought process, outright unwilling to give him a long-term extension."

This uncertainty after being swept by the Boston Celtics in the first round surely isn't where Brooklyn thought it would be when it started the 2021-22 season with Irving, Kevin Durant and James Harden forming a trio of some of the best players in the league.

Instead, Irving played just 29 games and was ineligible to play for most of the home games because he remained unvaccinated against COVID-19. Injuries limited Durant during the regular season, and the Nets eventually traded Harden to the Philadelphia 76ers.

They no longer look like surefire title contenders for years to come like they once did, and Irving's decision to not get vaccinated and the situation it created this past season reportedly has impacted the front office's mindset on his long-term future.

Earlier this month, general manager Sean Marks responded to a question about how committed the team was to the point guard by saying Brooklyn is "looking for guys that want to be a part of something bigger than themselves, play team basketball and be available."      

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

"We're looking for guys that want to be a part of something bigger than themselves, play team basketball, and be available. That goes not only for Kyrie but everybody here."<br><br>Sean Marks on if the Nets are committed to Kyrie long-term.<br><br>(via <a href="https://twitter.com/SNYNets?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@SNYNets</a>)<a href="https://t.co/aOMnP6x6sX">pic.twitter.com/aOMnP6x6sX</a>

Yet Irving previously told reporters, "In terms of my extension, man, I don't really plan on going anywhere."

The situation seems to be bubbling for now as the team figures out how to balance one of the league's best point guards on the court with the reality he hasn't been available much of late after playing just 20 games in 2019-20 and 29 games in his third season with the Nets.

That balancing act may just end in a sign-and-trade.