The biggest storyline of the NBA’s offseason to this point is what the future will hold for Nets point guard Kyrie Irving. As reports emerge that the All-Star point guard’s ultimate goal is to end up with the Lakers, he still has until midweek to decide whether or not to opt in to his $36.9 million player option for next season.
Amid all the uncertainty, though, Irving was asked point blank by Complex Sports if he still wants to play for the Nets. His answer? Predictably noncommittal.
“Pass it to my left!” Irving said with a laugh, pointing to his agent and stepmom, Shetellia Riley Irving.
The deadline for Irving to opt in to his player option is Wednesday. If he doesn’t, he’d be able to sign with the Lakers on a $6 million exception. The Lakers are believed to be the only team planning to pursue a sign-and-trade for Irving, though Nets are reportedly not interested in any of Los Angeles’ available packages, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. LeBron James is “very open to the idea” of teaming up with Irving once more in Los Angeles, according to Sam Amick of The Athletic.
Earlier reports had Irving eyeing the the Lakers, Clippers, Knicks, Heat, Mavericks and 76ers as potential sign-and-trade destinations. Talks between Irving and the Nets have apparently grown “acrimonious,” with Irving trying to get more long-term money and Brooklyn showing resistance to that notion.
Irving has only played in 103 of 246 regular season games since joining the Nets in July 2019. He has battled with injuries since arriving in Brooklyn and missed the bulk of team’s home games last season due to his refusal to comply with New York’s vaccine mandate.
In 29 games, Irving averaged 27.4 points per game during the 2021–22 campaign while dishing out 5.8 assists and shooting 41.8% from beyond the arc on a career-high 8.2 attempts per contest.
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