Nets’ Kyrie Irving reiterates “I don’t really plan on going anywhere”
Kyrie Irving can and will opt out of the $36.9 million he is owed next season and become a free agent.
However, after a tired-looking Nets team was swept out of the playoffs by the Celtics Monday, Irving reiterated postgame that he has no intention of leaving Brooklyn or the side of his friend Kevin Durant.
“There’s no question about where I’m going and how this is going to happen. I’m here with seven [Durant], but also I’m here to build a great team...
“Individually, been recognized for my greatness, but at this point in my career, I really just want to be part of a great team. And just dominate that way and not really focus on any individual accolades and achievements. Just really build something special. That’s my focus going into the summer.”
Boston exposed issues — size across the board, athleticism, shooting — that the Nets need to address this offseason if they are going to be a “great team” and they have limited assets to do it (a late first-round pick and the taxpayer midlevel, essentially). Irving said he expects to be part of that offseason discussion and involved on some level with decisions.
“When I say I’m here with Kevin, I think that it really entails us managing this franchise together alongside Joe [Tsai, team owner] and Sean [Marks, GM], and just our group of family members that we have in our locker room, in our organization,” Irving said.
The Nets can and will offer Irving a new contract, which can be for as much as five years, $246 million. While there will be cries from some in the media that the Nets should not offer a player who can be so unreliable and challenging more than a one- or two-year deal, the more likely outcome is a four-year, $190 million offer, which lines Irving up with the contract extension Durant signed before the season started. Irving will take it, not only because it’s more money than any other team can offer but also because the Nets cater to their superstars in a way not every franchise would, and the Nets should be title contenders again next season. On paper, this team can win big.
But winning like that would require Irving to live up to the massive new contract he is about to get.