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Just hours before the 2022 NBA Draft was set to begin, there was a significant rumor coming out of Brooklyn. Following a shaky season in 2021-2022, it seemed that Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets were headed towards a breakup.

Reports indicated that Irving planned to decline his contract option and become a free agent. Irving was also rumored to be seeking a possible sign-and-trade and had a list of several teams he was interested in potentially joining. 

The list included the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, New York Knicks, Miami Heat, Dallas Mavericks, and the Philadelphia 76ers.

Although Irving reportedly had his sights set on those teams, there wasn’t much mutual interest. Outside of the LeBron James-led Lakers, none of the other teams mentioned above had plans to pursue a potential sign-and-trade with the Nets to land Irving.

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Perhaps, a lack of interest from the desired organizations caused Irving to go in a different direction. Or, maybe he was toying with the idea of leaving Brooklyn while having a plan to return the entire time. Either way, Irving made a shocking move on Monday evening as it was reported that he will pick up his option for the 2022-2023 NBA season, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic

Irving’s potential departure left many wondering what happens next with Kevin Durant. Now that Irving is leaning heavily towards playing next season with the Nets, there is a good chance the band stays back together at least for one more year. 

Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for All76ers, a Sports Illustrated channel. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.

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