It has been an eventful past few months for Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets. For a while, it looked like Irving’s days as a Nets player were numbered, especially after his involvement in such a huge controversy near the beginning of the season. However, the Nets’ strong surge in December, along with Irving’s inspired play as of late, may have changed both sides’ tunes regarding a potential extension of the mercurial guard’s stint in Brooklyn.

Irving has made his desire to sign a contract extension with the Nets crystal clear. His agent/stepmother, Shetelia Riley Irving, has reportedly already informed the Nets brass of the 30-year old point guard’s demands for his next deal. However, “substantive talks between the sides have yet to begin“, per Marc Stein (subscription required).

Last year, when Kevin Durant was out due to injury, the Nets fell off a cliff, thanks in large part to James Harden’s lethargic play and Irving’s vaccination status-related absences. However, Brooklyn has remained (relatively) afloat amid Durant’s injury, thanks to Irving’s inspired play.

Kyrie Irving has been on a tear as of late, scoring 30 or more points in six straight games (including a 48-point outburst) before seeing his streak come to an end after scoring “only” 26 against the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday night. The issue with Irving, however, has never been his performance on the court.

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The Nets may be wary of the Irving’s potential to run into all sorts of off-court issues. His apparent endorsement of an anti-Semitic film and his subsequent suspension because of his dragged out refusal to apologize may have put a damper on the Nets front office’s perception of him.

Nevertheless, the Nets’ best bet to compete for an NBA championship appears to be to retain Kyrie Irving. The Nets should remain above the salary cap even if they don’t retain Irving; the only way to make any meaningful additions, should they decide to jettison the polarizing guard, is to gut the team around Kevin Durant completely.

But with Durant locked into his Nets contract until at least the end of the 2025-26 season, one would assume that the Nets would very much like to keep their superstar happy until then. Keeping Irving, one of Durant’s closest friends, sure would help in that regard.