Kyrie Irving Rumors: 76ers, Heat, Mavericks Explored Sign-and-Trade for Nets Star

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVJune 29, 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

The Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat and Philadelphia 76ers reportedly all explored potential deals for point guard Kyrie Irving before he opted in to his contract with the Brooklyn Nets for the 2022-23 NBA season.

Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic reported details about the Irving pursuit Tuesday on the Pat McAfee Show:

ClutchPoints @ClutchPointsApp

"Dallas, Miami, Philadelphia, &amp; Los Angeles were all poking around Kyrie Irving."<a href="https://twitter.com/ShamsCharania?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ShamsCharania</a> spilled the beans on the biggest off-season happening (thus far) on the <a href="https://twitter.com/PatMcAfeeShow?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@PatMcAfeeShow</a> πŸ™Œ<a href="https://t.co/4pB6dXOmjT">pic.twitter.com/4pB6dXOmjT</a>

The suggestion of multiple teams showing interest in Irving contrasts a prior report from ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, who noted Monday the Lakers were the only team pursuing the seven-time All-Star in a sign-and-trade deal.

Regardless, Irving only had until Wednesday to decide whether to pick up his option and made the decision Monday night to stick with Brooklyn, at least for now.

"Normal people keep the world going, but those who dare to be different lead us into tomorrow. I've made my decision to opt in. See you in the fall," Irving told Charania.

It's unclear whether any interested team made serious progress toward a deal with the Nets before the 30-year-old Duke product made his decision.

Irving was limited to 29 appearances last season. Initially, Brooklyn wanted to wait for him to become eligible to play full time before having him join the squad, which wasn't possible when the 2021-22 season began because of New York City's COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

He returned as a part-time player in early January as the Nets dealt with injuries and players in COVID-19 protocols, and he eventually returned to a full-time role in March when the mandate for the team's home arena was lifted.

The 2011 first overall pick remained highly productive when on the floor. He averaged 27.4 points, 5.8 assists, 4.4 rebounds, 3.4 threes and 1.4 steals while shooting 41.8 percent from beyond the arc.

With COVID-19 protocols now less of a factor, Irving could return to his status as one of the NBA's best point guards next season.

It's still possible the Lakers, featuring his former Cleveland Cavaliers teammate LeBron James, or another team could make a run at Kyrie before next season gets underway, but opting into the contract made that less likely.

Instead, the Nets are probably going to make one more effort to emerge as a top-tier championship contender with Irving and Kevin Durant leading the way before seeking alternatives.