Kyrie Irving had one of the most bizarre individual seasons by an NBA player in recent memory. The 7-time All-Star guard sat out the start of the season after refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine to meet New York City’s mandate, then was allowed to be a part-time player, appearing in only road games until the city’s mandate was lifted in the final month of the season.
Irving had some tremendous highs, but also was inconsistent in his impact, particularly in the playoffs, which probably should’ve been expected from a player who appeared so infrequently — just 29 games in the regular season. The frustrations with Irving’s status was a factor in James Harden forcing his way out of Brooklyn almost as quickly as he had forced his way in from Houston, and the relationship between star and team is not exactly in a good position.
So, when it came time for Irving to make a decision on his $36.5 million player option, there was plenty of interest league-wide. Irving entering free agency would create a fascinating market (and potentially upset Kevin Durant and his future in Brooklyn) and there have been rumblings the Nets aren’t keen on giving him a max deal. Things got to the point that the expectation became Irving would leave, the team reportedly gave him permission to pursue a sign-and-trade
Ultimately, Irving decided to pick up his option, but in a twist, he told Shams Charania of The Athletic that he will stay in Brooklyn and see out the last year of his deal.
Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving is opting into his $37 million player option for the 2022-23 season, @TheAthletic @Stadium has learned. Irving is bypassing on multiple opt-in and trade scenarios to fulfill his four-year commitment to the Nets and Kevin Durant.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 27, 2022
Kyrie Irving: “Normal people keep the world going, but those who dare to be different lead us into tomorrow. I’ve made my decision to opt in. See you in the fall. A11even.” https://t.co/rpiS8YkSZI
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 27, 2022AdvertisementAdvertisement
Now, all eyes turn to whether or not he can hammer out an extension with the team, or if the two sides even want to pursue one, anyway.