X

NBA Rumors: Kyrie Irving Eyed 'Guarantee' He'd Play Under 60 Games in Nets Contract

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVAugust 11, 2022

Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

Kyrie Irving reportedly sought contractual guarantees that he wouldn't have to make more than 60 appearances per season and could skip back-to-back games as part of his extension talks with the Brooklyn Nets.

Fox Sports' Ric Bucher reported details about the negotiations Wednesday on his On The Ball podcast (via HoopsHype).

"[Nets governor] Joe Tsai has already shown he's willing to play hardball with Kyrie by taking a max extension off the table almost immediately," Bucher said. "Now, part of that may be Kyrie's doing. I'm told he wanted his new contract to guarantee he wouldn't have to play more than 60 games in a season and would not have to play any back-to-backs, which he apparently referred to as inhumane."

Irving has only played more than 60 games once over the past five years. He was limited to 29 appearances during the 2021-22 season because he didn't become a full-time player until the final stages of the campaign.

The Nets initially announced the 30-year-old point guard wouldn't rejoin the roster until eligible to play in every game, which wasn't possible when the season started because he was unvaccinated against COVID-19, and New York City required vaccination for home-team athletes and performers.

He returned to the lineup in January as Brooklyn dealt with injuries and COVID-related absences, but he remained a part-time contributor until the NYC mandate was lifted in March.

After his return to full-time status, Irving confirmed he hoped to re-sign with the Nets.

"I signed up for this for the long run," he told reporters. "So I love this year. I'm grateful. It hasn't been a prototypical year. But when I look at my teammates and where we are as an organization, I'm looking for the long run."

Extension talks were sluggish early in the offseason, however, which led the seven-time All-Star to pick up the $36.9 million player option in his contract for 2022-23. He'll become an unrestricted free agent next offseason if the two sides don't agree to a new deal.

Meanwhile, he's become a popular name in the rumor mill regarding a possible trade. A reunion with LeBron James, this time with the Los Angeles Lakers after they won a championship together with the Cleveland Cavaliers, has been the most frequent link.

Jovan Buha of The Athletic reported last week that discussions between the Nets and Lakers are likely on hold until Brooklyn settles its Kevin Durant situation, though. Durant requested a trade in late June, but there's no sign a blockbuster move is imminent.

There are a lot of variables in play, and it's still possible the Nets keep both KD and Kyrie on the roster, though that could lead to another drama-filled year.

Looking ahead, whether the negotiations are with the Nets or another team, it'll be interesting to see how Irving's apparent request to take at least 25 percent of every season off will affect his next contract.

🚨 SPORTS NEWS ➡️ YOUR INBOX

The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.