Kyrie Irving created plenty of extra challenges for the Brooklyn Nets last season. And now they may be unwilling to sign him to a long-term extension.
There may not be a trickier or more impactful decision this offseason than what the Brooklyn Nets do with Kyrie Irving.
His refusal to get vaccinated limited him to 29 games last season and even when he played his effectiveness was heavily influenced by how much rest he’d had — 24.8 points per game on a 55.6 true shooting percentage on one or fewer days of rest, 31.1 points per game on a 63.7 true shooting percentage on two or more days of rest. And, of course, his availability is a question mark even separate from his vaccination status — he appeared in just 74 of a possible 154 games during his first two seasons in Brooklyn.
Signing him to a long-term extension may be the only way the Nets remain a contender in the Eastern Conference. It also may turn out to be a disaster with ramifications that take years to unravel.
The team clearly has a lot to mull over and Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News is reporting that the Nets aren’t willing to give Irving a long-term extension:
“This is why, as I’ve already written, the Nets’ championship hopes hinge on an amicable solution with Irving, whose personal decision not to get vaccinated and unpredictable injury history have left the Nets hesitant, and now, according to a source familiar with the Nets’ thought process, outright unwilling to give him a long-term extension.”
What happens if the Brooklyn Nets won’t re-sign Kyrie Irving?
Despite the complications he brings, someone will be willing to sign Irving to a long-term extension if the Nets aren’t. There’s a possibility that a sign-and-trade gets worked out, in that case, to return some value to the Nets but it’s unlikely to be anything close to what he could provide as his hypothetical peak.
Simply letting him walk wouldn’t create any cap space for the Nets either since they’re already right up against the cap and would be using Bird Rights to re-sign him anyway. So absent a sign-and-trade, the Nets may be choosing between rolling the dice on Irving or rolling into next season with Kevin Durant and Ben Simmons as the foundation.