Kyrie Irving’s drama-free return from an eight-game suspension and regaining his All-Star form could convince the Brooklyn Nets to stick with the controversial guard beyond this season.
The Nets have posted an 18-6 record since Irving’s return after the antisemitism scandal. During this stretch, Irving averaged 25.2 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.7 assists. He’s cinched to play in his eighth All-Star game, as he currently leads the fan voting for the starters with 3,024,833.
An NBA executive told HoopsHype’s Mike Scotto that he thinks “Irving ends up with a short extension with the Nets” given the circumstances surrounding his impending free agency and the shrinking of his market due to his controversial past.
“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. I don’t know if Kyrie would accept that. 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.”NBA Executive via HoopsHype’s Mike Scotto
In the offseason, the 30-year-old Irving was linked to the Lakers when extension talks with the Nets stalled. But there was no pathway other than a swap with Russell Westbrook, which was not amenable for the Nets. Westbrook has since flourished in a Sixth Man role with the Lakers.
Irving was openly saying in the past that he wanted to remain with the Nets, a team he rooted for as a kid from New Jersey.
It is unclear if the feeling is mutual after everything the Nets went through with Irving.
After they lost Kevin Durant to another MCL injury, the Nets were optimistic about their chances to weather the storm with Irving around this time. But the star guard was a flop in their first two games without Durant, losing both as he was limited to 19.5 points on 36 percent shooting. He missed Tuesday night’s loss in San Antonio at the start of a crucial five-game road trip with right calf soreness.
Their three-game losing skid since Durant’s injury has dropped the 27-16 Nets to fourth from second place in the highly-competitive Eastern Conference.
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