Kyrie Irving reportedly is sticking with Kevin Durant and the Brooklyn Nets.
The 30-year-old point guard is opting into his $36.5 million player option with the franchise, according to The Athletic's Shams Charania.
It’s been a wild couple of days in speculation surrounding Irving’s commitment to the Nets, and vice-versa. On Thursday, it was reported that Irving had a six-team list of franchises he would seek a sign-and-trade to if he was unable to reach a deal with the Nets. Earlier on Monday, it came out that the Los Angeles Lakers reportedly were the “only known” team interested in a potential swap and that the Nets were prepared to potentially lose both Irving and Kevin Durant.
Irving ended the speculation on Monday, saying “Normal people keep the world going, but those who dare to be different lead us into tomorrow. I’ve made my decision to opt in. See you in the fall.” (via Charania).
In addition, Irving posted a message shortly after the news about the opt-in broke:
Irving’s player option came with the initial four-year, $136 million deal he signed to join forces with Durant in Brooklyn during the 2019 offseason. He had until Wednesday to make a decision on the player option and will now become an unrestricted free agent after the 2022-23 unless he and the Nets agree on a contract extension.
Irving has played in 103 of a possible 226 regular season games over the last three seasons due to injuries and his unvaccinated status. Since the arrival of Irving and Durant, the Nets’ one playoff series victory came over the Boston Celtics in 2021, though Boston returned the favor with a first-round sweep in the 2022 postseason.
While Irving is back in Brooklyn for one more season, two other marquee players are locked in for the long-term. Durant signed a four-year, $194 million extension that begins with the 2022-23 season. Ben Simmons, who arrived when the Nets traded James Harden to the Philadelphia 76ers, has three more years left on his deal for over $112 million.
Irving and Durant have yet to play with Simmons, but it appears they will have one season to figure things out before Irving decides on his future once again.