Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant knows Kyrie Irving has some important decisions to make this offseason. Irving previously said he wanted to stay in Brooklyn for the long haul, but — as many things are with Irving — the situation is complicated.
Irving has a $36 million player option for the 2022-23 season. He has until June 29 to pick up that option. A few months ago, it was assumed Irving would pick up that option or sign a long-term extension with the Nets. But after Irving missed a large portion of the season over his refusal to get vaccinated for COVID-19, the Nets are having second thoughts about a long-term commitment.
That leaves Irving with a number of decisions. He can opt out of his deal with the Nets and hit the open market, he can opt-in and accept a long-term extension to remain with the team or he can opt-in and try to force a sign and trade to another franchise.
Though Irving’s decision will have a big effect on Durant’s future, Durant said he will not get involved in Irving’s situation.
“There’s no involvement at all,” Durant said on the ETCs podcast. “I mean, I can’t be involved with, this is this man’s livelihood, you know? This is much bigger than me. Being a free agent is one of the most important times in your career. That can’t be swayed by anybody else. I just do me and wait for the time.
“There’s nothing that can happen right now. I don’t think he can even make a decision on opting out until the 29th, I think. So I just kinda let things play out and see what happens. Keep the regular contact with Ky and we’ll see what happens. It’s something that’s so much out of my control that I don’t want to be a part of it. We’ll see what happens, though.”
Will Kyrie Irving force a trade from the Nets?
Irving has reportedly prepared for a scenario where he leaves the team. He allegedly already has a list of teams he would like to join if he goes the sign and trade route. Those teams include the Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers, among other clubs.
In that scenario, Durant could be the next domino to fall. Teams are reportedly preparing trade scenarios on the off chance Durant suddenly becomes available, according to ESPN’s Zach Lowe.
There’s still a lot that needs to happen before a Durant trade becomes a possibility. The Irving situation needs to be resolved first, and Durant is content to let Irving make the call there.
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