The superstar guard has requested and received permission to seek a trade with other teams, per the New York Daily News. It’s the latest development in what has become a contentious offseason saga between the two sides.
Irving initially sought a long-term deal with the Nets, but those discussions have reached a stalemate given the organization’s concerns with his commitment to playing.
The situation could impact the future of fellow superstar Kevin Durant, who reportedly has not been in contact with the front office since the Nets were eliminated from the playoffs in April. Three years ago, Irving and Durant defected from the two teams in this year’s NBA Finals to join forces in Brooklyn, which immediately produced championship expectations. But that venture began on the wrong foot on day one, as Durant missed all of their first season together with a torn Achilles and Irving sat out significant parts of the past three because of injuries and personal reasons.
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That’s prevented the Nets from making it out of the second round in the East. Now they’re seemingly close to a complete rebuild.
Irving has until Wednesday to pick up his $36.9 million player option for next season. Failing to do so would likely be a lose-lose for both him and the team, as it limits Brooklyn’s cap space as well as his potential suitors to a handful of non-contenders boasting significant room – if Irving is looking to cash in. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Irving could also sign with the Lakers for a $6 million exception.
L.A. is one of six teams said to be on the perennial All-Star guard’s wish list, along with the Clippers, Knicks, Heat, 76ers and Mavericks. A sign-and-trade makes it possible for Irving to keep his current salary and, perhaps, land a long-term deal.
Either way, he’s probably played his last game for Brooklyn.
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