The Brooklyn Nets appear to be nearing a breakup with star guard Kyrie Irving. There was initially a belief that he could sign an extension with the organization this summer, but now, Shams Charania is reporting that Kyrie and the Nets are at an “impasse,” with the Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks, and Los Angeles Clippers all ready to pounce:
Sources: Kyrie Irving, Nets are at impasse in conversations about his future in Brooklyn, clearing way for the seven-time All-Star to consider the open market. Lakers and Knicks expected to emerge among potential suitors.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 20, 2022
The Lakers, Knicks and Clippers are expected to be among the interested suitors if Irving heads elsewhere, multiple sources tell The Athletic.
GM Sean Marks voiced that he wanted players in Brooklyn who are available on a consistent basis, essentially throwing shade at Irving for being unavailable for a lot of last season due to his vaccination status. But with him being on the bench more than on the floor over the last few years, the Nets are clearly skeptical about handing him a lucrative deal.
Irving has a $36.5 million player option for 2022-23. As Shams noted, the Lakers and Clippers would likely try to acquire him in a trade after he opts in because of their financial situations. For the Knicks, they could go several different ways, depending on what Brooklyn is looking to prioritize.
If Irving does ultimately leave the Nets, it'll undoubtedly be a huge blow. They won't be able to find a legitimate running mate for Kevin Durant, who is still looking to take Brooklyn to the promised land. Plus, we honestly have no idea what to expect out of Ben Simmons when he returns from injury.
Irving played in just 29 games in 2021-22, averaging 27.4 points, 5.8 assists, and 4.4 rebounds while shooting 42% from downtown. He struggled to produce in the playoffs, though, putting up only 21.3 points per night as the Nets were swept by the Boston Celtics in the first round.
If this is indeed the end of Kyrie Irving's time in Brooklyn, all eyes will shift to the future of Durant.