Kyrie Irving Will Pick Up His Player Option And Stay With The Nets For The Final Year Of His Deal

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, and at one point, we learned that the franchise would have preferred losing him and Durant as opposed to going through the circus we saw last year.

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.

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.