Kyrie Irving wants to stay with Nets but is the feeling mutual?

Kyrie Irving, Nets
Apr 10, 2022; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) points to his teammates in the fourth quarter against the Indiana Pacers at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

If Kyrie Irving has his way, he would prefer to stay in Brooklyn, closer to home, beyond this season. But that choice is for the Nets to be made.

Irving’s agent and stepmother, Shetellia Riley-Irving, recently told Bleacher Report’s Chris Haynes that they have already reached out to the Nets regarding a contract extension. But the Nets appeared to be taking a cautious approach.

“We have had no significant conversations to date. The desire is to make Brooklyn home, with the right type of extension, which means the ball is in the Nets’ court to communicate now if their desire is the same.”

Shetellia Riley-Irving via B/R’s Chris Haynes

Irving’s camp can’t blame the Nets if they are not as enthused as they wanted them to be after everything the organization went through with the controversial star guard.

But to Irving’s credit, he’s been solid on and off the court since he returned from an eight-game suspension for sharing a link to a film with antisemitic tropes.

Entering Wednesday’s face-off against former teammate James Harden and Philadelphia 76ers, Irving is averaging 26.7 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 5.0 assists since his return. Over Brooklyn’s last two wins without Kevin Durant, Irving carried the team with ridiculous numbers: 43.0 points on 59/59/887 shooting split, 9.0 rebounds and 7.5 assists.

Irving is eligible for a four-year max extension worth roughly $200 million. But it is unlikely the Nets will extend that offer. The belief around the league is that if the Nets are to bring Irving back, it will be on a short-term deal, such as two years or a one-plus-one deal.

Irving’s other options have shrunk after the Los Angeles Lakers traded for soon-to-be-restricted free agent Rui Hachimura. The Lakers reportedly intend to re-sign Hachimura which would hamper their ability to create a max slot for another star like Irving.

The remaining teams with cap space that could cater to Irving’s max slot would be rebuilding teams, such as the San Antonio Spurs ($73M), Houston Rockets ($72M), Indiana Pacers ($60M), Orlando Magic ($55M), Detroit Pistons ($54M), Charlotte Hornets ($44M), and Oklahoma City Thunder ($40M).

With Irving’s shrinking options, the Nets have the leverage. So the ball is not really in Brooklyn’s court.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo