Following an early-season suspension that nearly ended his time in Brooklyn, Kyrie Irving returned to the Nets and has been among the NBA’s top guards. Irving has averaged 25.2 points on 49/39/89 shooting splits during that span, with Brooklyn posting the league’s second-best record (20-7).

Irving’s clutch play carried Brooklyn down the stretch of several wins during the hot stretch. The seven-time All-Star ranks third in the league in fourth-quarter scoring this season at 8.4 points per game.

Kyrie Irving’s Nets tenure to this point has been marred by off-court drama and underwhelming on-court results. However, the team’s recent turnaround, during which Irving stayed out of the headlines, has many pondering whether Brooklyn will extend the guard when his contract expires this offseason.

A recent report from HoopsHype’s Mike Scotto said several NBA executives believe Irving will remain with the Nets beyond this year.

“I think Kyrie ends up with a short extension with the Nets,” one NBA executive predicted. “A sign-and-trade for Kyrie this summer would be tough given the length needed and assets to make it happen from another team. I think there’s an incentive for an extension on a one-plus-one or two-year deal. If I’m Brooklyn, I’m not going past two years.”

Based on a large sample size of off-court issues and injury struggles, it would be no surprise if the Nets again balk at the idea of giving Irving a long-term deal. Brooklyn reportedly offered the guard two- and four-year contract offers last summer with incentives based on games played, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

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“The Nets and Shetellia Riley Irving worked through various proposals, including a two-year max extension that included incentives based on games played as well as a four-year max that included two years guaranteed and triggers for years three and four based on the games played in years one and two,” sources told Shams.

Irving reportedly made a counter offer which the Nets declined, leading the guard to opt into the final year of his deal. While the executive quoted earlier floated the idea of another two-year offer from Brooklyn, he was unsure whether that gets a deal done, at which point the Lakers could be a viable destination.

“I don’t know if Kyrie would accept that,” the exec said of a one-plus-one or two-year deal from Brooklyn. “The Lakers will go into the summer with cap space and can offer two years, $60 million, where he could rejoin LeBron James and play with Anthony Davis.”

Los Angeles was one of the only teams to show significant interest in a trade for Irving last offseason. Should the Nets play hardball with the guard again this summer, the Lakers could be Brooklyn’s top competition.

Kyrie Irving now finds himself attempting to prevent another downward spiral with Kevin Durant sidelined for an extended period. Brooklyn has lost three straight since Durant went down with an MCL sprain in Miami. Irving struggled in the first two losses, shooting 16-of-44 (36.4 percent) from the field and 4-of-18 from 3-point range (22.2 percent).

The New Jersey native was a late scratch Tuesday ahead of the Nets’ 106-98 loss in San Antonio due to calf soreness. Head coach Jacque Vaughn called Irving day-to-day ahead of a matchup in Phoenix Thursday.