Kyrie Irving Opts Into Contract, Will Stay With Nets After Failing to Find Sign-and-Trade Partner

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Kyrie Irving Opts Into Contract, Will Stay With Nets After Failing to Find Sign-and-Trade Partner

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After stirring up as much drama as possible, Kyrie Irving has officially decided to return to the Brooklyn Nets.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Irving will opt into his $36 million player option and plan to play for the Nets next season. The decision comes after Irving was unable to find a suitable sign-and-trade partner.

The Los Angeles Lakers were previously reported as the only interested party.

Irving also released a rather bizarre statement that came via The Athletic’s Shams Charania. And I’ll just let you read that for yourself below:

Ah, yes, there is nothing more daring than taking $36+ million and playing for the franchise you signed on to play with.

Irving’s shenanigans always felt like a leverage play to pressure the organization into handing him a max extension. To the Nets credit, they called his bluff, and Irving saw how his inconsistent availability the past couple of seasons significantly hurt his value around the league. The question now becomes whether or not this upcoming season will be the last for Irving and the Nets?

The two sides could, technically, still agree on an extension, but the separation in negotiations is initially what caused this mess. With Irving now set to hit unrestricted free agency next summer, I could see both parties waiting until then to re-start conversations.

To be honest, though, I’m just glad this storyline fizzled out fast. The last thing I wanted was for an Irving saga to dominate the offseason, so perhaps we can now enjoy free agency a little bit more. The only bummer is this likely means our KD to the Bulls dreams are officially dead (as if they were ever alive).

Elias Schuster wrote this update.

You can see our previous post on the Nets drama below.

This story out of New York — regarding the future of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant — has been bubbling on high over the last week or so. And I think it’s reaching a boiling point.

The latest, via Brian Windhorst at ESPN, sure makes it sound like were barreling towards a massive Nets shakeup.

Earlier today, we learned that the Nets have been allowing Irving to pursue sign-and-trade deals around the league (more on that and his list of desired destinations below). We also learned that if Irving left, Durant would likely try to follow him out the door. The difference, of course, is that Durant has less of a say in his his future after signing a four-year, $198 million extension with the Nets on August 8, 2021.

The NBA is still a player-friendly league (and we’ve seen stars sit out to get what they want in the recent past (James Harden)), but the bottom line is the Nets don’t have to move Durant. So any report that points to a willingness to let Durant walk is fairly big news. We’ll be tracking this story closely, as I’m sure we are not yet at the end.

Original post below:

The demise of the Brooklyn Nets (as we currently know them) seems increasingly likely to occur this summer, as the Kyrie Irving situation comes to a head — to say nothing of Kevin Durant.

Earlier this morning, Kristian Winfield of the New Daily News added a new wrinkle, indicating that Irving’s camp has asked and received permission to seek a sign-and-trade this summer. Winfield also noted that Kevin Durant has not spoken with Nets GM Sean Marks this summer, and as we know, KD is likely to dash Brooklyn if no amicable solution is reached between Irving and the Nets.

The Lakers, Clippers, Knicks, Heat, 76ers, and Mavericks are Kyrie’s teams on his wishlist of desired landing spots. Why anyone would want to trade for Irving and pay him a butt load of money remains a mystery to me, but hey, have fun with that. I would love to see Irving end up in Los Angeles with his old pal LeBron James for that exact reason.

That might be one of the least likely scenarios, though, as the Lakers are sitting on Russell Westbrook’s massive deal and per Winfield, a Westbrook-Durant reunion in Brooklyn seems unlikely. The Knicks, Mavericks, and Heat are the teams most capable of doing the sign-and-trade work, but Dallas and New York are also on the verge of a bidding war for Jalen Brunson, so that’ll impact their interest in Irving.

Then there’s this nugget of information this morning from Adrian Wojnarowski:

Woj is reporting that aside from the Lakers, no known teams are planning on pursuing Kyrie this summer. So, I guess most of the league agrees with my opinion. How about that.

To recap: The Nets don’t want to commit to Kyrie long-term. Kyrie wants out as a result. No one but the Lakers wants Kyrie, and Brooklyn isn’t interested in what the Lakers are willing to give up for Kyrie. Oh, and if the Nets can’t keep Kyrie (there and happy), they face the prospect of Kevin Durant forcing his way out of town.

Got all that? Good. Plenty more to come this week, I’m sure.

Eli did a nice job of rounding up the rest of the potential end to the “7-11” era in Brooklyn late last week:

Author: Patrick K. Flowers

Patrick is the Lead NFL Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @PatrickKFlowers.