Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving reportedly exercised his $36.9 million player option Monday, which secures not only his future with the team but also Kevin Durant's.
"So now, Kevin Durant has what he did want, which was Kyrie Irving back on the Nets this season," ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported. "So the expectation right now is that Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving will move forward for the Nets on this roster this year."
Irving reportedly had been seeking a long-term extension from the Nets, but the team was reluctant and preferred a short-term deal. Once those negotiations didn't lead to a resolution, Irving sought a sign-and-trade, according to Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News, and had a list of six preferred destinations.
With little apparent interest from teams, he opted to remain with the Nets to fulfill his four-year contract. He is set to become an unrestricted free agent in 2023.
Wojnarowski noted that Durant remained "very loyal" to Irving throughout the proceedings, which was a major factor in Irving's decision. There had been speculation that if the Nets let Irving walk away this offseason, Durant would have tried to force his way off the team.
"Durant has four years left on his contract and remained an advocate for the Nets to commit to a long-term deal for Irving, sources said," Wojnarowski reported earlier Monday prior to Irving's decision. "Numerous teams around the league are preparing to pursue Durant, one of the elite players in the sport, if he becomes available."
Instead, it appears that Durant and Irving will lead the Nets on their quest to contend for an NBA title after the team was swept out of this year's playoffs in the first round against the Boston Celtics.