Well, that escalated quickly. About a week ago, reports surfaced that Nets point guard Kyrie Irving wanted to make Brooklyn “home” by signing a contract extension. Another report said the Nets weren’t in any rush to negotiate such a deal.
Now, Irving wants to get traded ahead of the February 9th NBA trade deadline. Here’s the news from Shams Charania:
Breaking: Brooklyn Nets All-Star Kyrie Irving has requested a trade, league sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. The franchise has been informed that Irving prefers to move on ahead of the Feb. 9 trade deadline – or will leave in free agency in July.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) February 3, 2023
Irving’s initial attempts to put pressure on the Nets clearly didn’t work. Shams also reported that Brooklyn offered an extension to Irving with “guarantee stipulations”. That offer wasn’t well received and was rejected. So, the source of his trade request becomes a little clearer with that information.
Would Brooklyn be bold enough to not trade him? We all know what an unhappy Irving can do to a team and the locker room. The last couple of months have been good for Kyrie on the court. But that only came after serving a suspension because of his social media activity (and no initial interest in apologizing).
Kyrie himself admitted during Nets media day in September that he was “close” to not returning to Brooklyn for the 2022-23 regular season. But then again, Irving also said that while he had options, there weren’t many to choose from.
Committing to the former Duke Blue Devil on a multi-year deal comes with its own risks. Not many teams were willing to take on his baggage to make a deal over the summer. Who would be willing to trade away other players/NBA Draft capital? Maybe there will be more interest in Irving as a 3-4 month rental before he hits free agency.
Then again, if the Nets don’t trade him before the deadline, it’s not like Irving can just slack off the rest of the year. He’s playing for a new contract, ya know. Just when you thought Brooklyn could just focus on basketball and improving at the trade deadline, the off-court drama rears its ugly head again.
Matt Musico can be reached at [email protected] and you can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.