After a week of buildup, the chatter surrounding Kyrie Irving has taken on a much different tune. After a thunderous volume of reports, rumors, and speculation about whether or not Kyrie would push for a sign-and-trade to the Lakers, one of the most puzzling superstars in the NBA is staying in Brooklyn (for now).
The Nets guard put all of the speculation to rest in the most Kyrie possible:
“Normal people keep the world going, but those who dare to be different lead us into tomorrow. I’ve made my decision to opt in. See you in the fall. A11even.”
The Athletic's Shams Charania confirmed the news as well.
Kyrie had until Wednesday to decide whether or not to pick up his $36.5M option with the Nets, apparently, Irving was ready to end the suspense with days to spare.
Now that Irving has opted in, he and the Nets can no longer pursue sign-and-trade options. It had been previously reported that there was an "expectation" that the seven-time All-Star would explore sign-and-trade options. There was also a report from ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowksi that the Lakers were the lone team interested in acquiring Kyrie in a sign-and-trade situation.
The Lakers are exactly where they were last Monday when it was reported by Charania that the Nets and Kyrie were at an "impasse" with talks regarding a contract extension and that if a deal couldn't be reached, Irving wanted to find a way to the a trio of teams that included the Lakers.
LA would now have to trade for Kyrie to get him in purple and gold and by all accounts, the Nets have little to no interest in executing a trade that would land Russell Westbrook in Brooklyn.
The Lakers will now have to continue on the path they were always on - improving their team with their limited cap space in NBA free agency.
Free agency officially begins on Thursday at 6PM ET.