Brooklyn Nets’ All-Star guard Kyrie Irving is solidifying his case for a significant contract extension with his best stretch of basketball in years.
Over his last seven games, Irving is averaging 34.9 points, 7.6 assists and 6.4 rebounds while shooting 50.9 percent from the field and 47 percent from the three-point zone.
His outstanding play has allowed the Nets to stay afloat after Kevin Durant went down with an MCL sprain to his right knee. The Nets currently hold a 4-6 record since Durant’s injury and 4-5 when Irving played.
It’s no wonder why Irving’s camp is pushing for extension talks. But the Nets appear not in a hurry to extend Irving long-term despite his stellar play and changed demeanor since his eight-game suspension stemming from sharing a link to a movie with antisemitic tropes.
“Some league observers have posited that this could be by design on Brooklyn’s part, with the Nets apparently convinced that they are under no pressure to move swiftly on the extension front when Irving would likely need their help via sign-and-trade to relocate in the offseason to any other team he likes.”Marc Stein via Substack
The Nets have the leverage in extension talks, more so after the Los Angeles Lakers traded for soon-to-be restricted free agent Rui Hachimura. The deal shrinks the Lakers’ cap space which hinders them for a potential run at Irving in the free agency.
Teams who can sign Irving outright to a four-year max contract worth up to $200 million are either rebuilding teams or have rising point guards in place.
The Lakers, Phoenix Suns, who have reportedly come to terms with the likelihood that Chris Paul is starting to decline, Miami Heat, and Dallas Mavericks will be in the market for an All-Star guard.
But all those teams don’t have the cap space to pursue Irving as a free agent.
So, the likely endgame is either Irving agrees to the Nets’ terms or asks for their help to facilitate a sign-and-trade.
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