There’s been a lot of debate in recent days about whether Kyrie Irving will return to the Brooklyn Nets for the 2022-23 NBA season.
On Sunday, the seven-time All-Star was asked point-blank by Complex Sports’ Pierce Simpson whether he still wants to play for the Nets. And Irving’s response was, well, kinda awkward.
“Pass it. Pass it to my left,” Irving said, laughing and pointing to his agent/stepmom Shetellia Riley Irving.
Clearly, Irving had no interest in revealing his plans or his desires on the red carpet at the BET Awards, but the 30-year-old since has commented on Complex Sports’ Instagram post of the interaction.
“When I smile like that, it means there’s more to the story,” Irving wrote. “I’ll have my time to address things.”
That doesn’t exactly sound like someone who’s thrilled with his situation. Then again, Irving tends to be cryptic with just about everything, so who really knows what he’s thinking right now?
Nevertheless, Irving has until Wednesday to decide whether to exercise his $36.5 million player option for the 2022-23 season. He technically could opt out and sign a five-year max contract extension with Brooklyn worth about $245 million, but the Nets reportedly are hesitant to make such a significant long-term commitment. After all, Irving has proven anything but reliable in terms of availability.
The New York Daily News reported Monday, citing multiple sources familiar with the situation, that Irving’s camp has requested and received permission from the Nets to speak with other teams about potential sign-and-trade packages.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported last week Irving’s wish list for landing spots included the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Dallas Mavericks, Miami Heat, New York Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers. But Woj circled back Monday to report, citing sources, the Lakers are the only known team to have interest in swinging a sign-and-trade for Irving, a deal that would reunite the polarizing point guard with former Cleveland Cavaliers teammate LeBron James.
All told, whatever happens with Kyrie Irving also might have a major impact on Kevin Durant’s future with the Nets. And if that’s the case, we’re obviously looking at a league-altering sequence of events.