Kyrie Irving Rumors: Lakers, Clippers, Knicks, Heat, 76ers, More Interest Nets StarJune 23, 2022
Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving has yet to make a decision as to whether he will stay put this offseason, but he reportedly already has a long list of teams he'd be interested in joining if he were to part ways with Brooklyn.
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Thursday that Irving would want the Nets to pursue sign-and-trades with multiple teams, including the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers and New York Knicks:
Wojnarowski added that Irving "isn’t necessarily a priority" for all of the teams who he'd have interest in joining.
The Athletic and Stadium's Shams Charania reported later in the day that Irving is expected to "proceed shortly into finding a new home via opt-in-and-trade."
Irving has until June 29 to decide whether to exercise or decline his $36.5 million player option for the 2022-23 season. If he chooses to become a free agent, he would likely have to sacrifice a substantial amount of money to sign elsewhere.
Irving's preference is to sign a long-term extension with the Nets, as they're the only team that can sign him to a five-year max deal. However, Brooklyn reportedly doesn't share that enthusiasm. Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News reported last month that the Nets were "outright unwilling" to sign him to a long-term deal.
Brooklyn's hesitance to sign Irving stems from his lack of availability during his three-year run with the team. He has appeared in only 103 regular-season games due to a combination of injuries, personal absences and his refusal to adhere to New York City's vaccine mandates. Irving lost $17 million in salary for the games he missed last season for choosing not to get vaccinated.
The lack of certainty surrounding Irving's situation is beginning to have an effect on Brooklyn's other star. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Kevin Durant is "monitoring the [Nets’] situation and considering options with his future." Charania noted that this added wrinkle "now opens the path for Irving to proceed on finding a new home via opt-in and trade."
Until Irving makes his final decision, he will remain one of the most high-profile storylines of the offseason.