At the beginning of the 2022-23 NBA regular season, would you have thought Kyrie Irving would be angling for a contract extension from the Nets right now? Keeping a low profile off the court while balling out on it will do that. In fact, it sounds like Irving is trying to make it seem like Brooklyn needs to decide now.
Here’s what Kyrie’s agent, Shetellia Irving, told Bleacher Report:
Around Kyrie and staying with the Nets? I have reached out to the Nets regarding this. 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.
According to NJ.com, Irving would be eligible for a four-year contract worth about $200 million with Brooklyn if he stuck around. It’s not hard to see why this kind of chatter is starting now. However, it doesn’t feel like he’s in a position to force the issue just yet.
Irving signed a four-year, $141 million deal ahead of the 2019-20 season. He’s yet to suit up for more than 54 games in a single season with the Nets. Assuming he stays healthy, that will likely happen this year. Irving has already appeared in 36 games for Brooklyn. But just a couple of months ago, the point guard was suspended for his social media activity and initial desire to not share a sincere apology.
Since his return, it’s just been about basketball, and the Nets have been among the NBA’s better teams. While it’s been tough with Kevin Durant on the sideline, Irving has stepped up in his role — both on the court and in the locker room as a leader.
But then again, it’s only been a couple of months. Irving wanted a new deal this past summer, but the Nets didn’t blink and he instead exercised his $36.5 million player option. This sequence definitely had a feeling of, “OK, if you want a new contract, go out and show us.”
Irving has done that since returning from his suspension. It certainly seems like the Nets aren’t thinking about much past this season, though. That’s especially the case with the trade deadline approaching in a couple of weeks. If Brooklyn hasn’t seriously thought about giving head coach Jacque Vaughn a multi-year deal yet, then there’s no way they’ll be engaging Irving’s camp on a contract extension in the immediate future.
Things have been going well over the past couple of months for Irving and the Nets. But once again, that’s not a lot of time. Let’s get through another significant chunk of this season before trying to force Brooklyn’s hand again.
Matt Musico can be reached at [email protected] and you can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.