Brooklyn Nets and Kyrie Irving May Break Up

Kyrie Irving and the Nets are reportedly at an impasse when it comes to Irving's contract.

Kyrie Irving and the Nets are reportedly at an impasse when it comes to Irving’s contract.
ImageGetty Images

The coming week will be a volatile week for Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets. You could start a drinking game for each time lede is written this season and you would become a vegetable. It may sound hollow, but this is the most critical game of brinksmanship of his Nets tenure.

A report from The Athletic’s Shams Charania says that a There is currently a deadlock between the parties paving the way for the seven-time All-Star to consider the open market.” Irving has until June 29 to enter into his $36.9 million player option for the final year of his four-year deal. He and the Nets are reportedly having goosebumps over details of his extension.

According to Jake Fischer from Bleacher Report, the Nets prefer a shorter-term incentive-laden deal that would prevent a repeat of his 2021-22 season, as opposed to the fully guaranteed maximum contract a player of his caliber would demand in the open market. It’s a risky strategy for Brooklyn when, but that’s probably the most prudent way to deal with Irving in the long run given his unreliability.

The Irving era in recent months has felt like it was destined to end in ruin, and the organization’s first-round exit in a sweep against the Boston Celtics only escalated the doom. Irving might surprise by signing up, but right now the Irving doomsday clock is ticking towards midnight.

These countdowns to players’ opt-ins typically promise explosive consequences for ongoing free agency spells and then clear themselves in lament. But when was the last time Irving made something simple or drama-free?

Fittingly, Andrew Wiggins expressed the same skepticism about vaccines as Irving did in the preseason, deciding not to die on that ant hill and then having a legacy-changing career year. Conversely, Irving set fire to his relationship with the Nets front office, missing more than half of the season and then being wiped out by the last franchise he rejected.

It’s hard enough to survive 82 games of regular season basketball in the course of a year without a vain franchise point guard who thinks he is MLKyrie and voluntarily making himself a healthy DNP to pursue those delusions of grandeur. There is something to be said for stability of your point guard, and Irving is always a loose branch in a hurricane. You never know where he’s going. The insecurity and emotional rot he displayed cast a cloud over the organization’s title aspirations.

Of course, the latest news of a rift between Irving and the Nets has sparked a whole new wave of rumors about free agencies. Unsurprisingly, according to Charania, the Lakers, Knicks, and Clippers are suitors for Irving’s services. Those three teams were candidates for more free agents than The Bachelor, but only one destination is realistic.

Irving in Clipperland sounds ideal. The Nets point guard has more respect for Tyronn Lue, for whom he won a title in 2016, than for a starting head coach like Steve Nash. However, the Lakers and Clippers are also so far over the limit, they couldn’t sign him outright as a free agent, so a sign-and-trade would be the only way forward, but what kind of assets do the Clippers have? to seduce the Nets? A reunion with LeBron would be a redeeming storyline, but the Lakers are chained to Russell Westbrook in the near future and have no design capital to dangle.

Irving shuffling to the New York Knicks, the franchise that has become an island of misfits in Manhattan over the past two decades, makes the most sense. Well-known workaholic Tom Thibodeau might get a kick out of Irving do an extra exercise after he leaves the facility as he was known to do this past season. The mercurial Irving joining forces with a perpetually frustrated Julius Randle or an inconsistent RJ Barrett, the Ponzi scheme that is Cam Reddish’s potential and a nervous Tom Thibodeau is so toxic it could work. Unlike the Clippers and Lakers, they have the assets in Barrett or Randle to offer and actually own their first-round pick for 2022.

The Knicks have made a habit of dancing on the brink of disaster, so why change now? Thibodeau pacing the sidelines in mid-January after Irving returns from his annual winter sabbatical would give the Knicks the loose cannons that could push this franchise over the edge.