Multiple NBA teams reportedly considered a sign-and-trade deal for Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving, but there was no appetite around the league for giving him a long-term contract.
ESPN's Brian Windhorst reported the update Thursday on Get Up after Irving exercised the $36.9 million player option in his contract to remain with the Nets for the 2022-23 season.
"[Teams on Kyrie Irving's list] did have discussions. Some of those teams saw this coming in the last month and had discussions, 'Do we want Kyrie Irving here?' But, the demand for Kyrie Irving on a long-term contract just doesn't exist right now," Windhorst said.
There's no doubting the seven-time All-Star's talent. He averaged 27.4 points, 5.8 assists, 4.4 rebounds, 3.4 threes and 1.4 steals across 29 appearances in 2021-22. He shot 46.9 percent from the field, including 41.8 percent from three-point range.
Those are terrific individual numbers, but his limited team success since winning a championship alongside LeBron James with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016 is a concern.
Irving requested a trade from the Cavs one year after winning that title, which Windhorst reported at the time was because the point guard wanted a "situation where he can be more of a focal point" rather than playing second fiddle to LeBron.
He landed with the Celtics, who reached the conference finals in 2018 while he was sidelined with a knee injury, and then joined the Nets as a free agent in 2019. His teams haven't progressed beyond the second round of the playoffs over the past four years.
Amid sluggish contract talks with Brooklyn, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Irving developed a list of teams he'd be interested in joining, which included the Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, New York Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers.
Only the Lakers ended up showing interest in a sign-and-trade deal, but the Nets weren't keen on what L.A. was prepared to offer, per Woj.
With a Wednesday option deadline looming, Irving announced Monday he'd pick up the $36.9 million player option rather than hit the open market.
"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," he told Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic.
So, barring another twist in the saga, it appears Irving will spend next season playing alongside Kevin Durant and Ben Simmons with the Nets trying to rebuild his value before hitting free agency.