OPINION: The Brooklyn Nets guard seems set on turning down his option and seeking a trade. But which NBA team will take the risk of adding the mercurial superstar?
Editor’s note: The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own. Read more opinions on theGrio.
What would Kyrie do?
If Kyrie Irving were an NBA general manager instead of an NBA superstar, would he give himself a five-year, $250 million deal like Brooklyn can offer? It’s not an easy question.
Maybe he’d be so deep and so introspective as a GM that he’d determine that the supremely talented and tantalizing player couldn’t be trusted with such a sizable commitment.
I suppose he’d sign himself in the end, though, knowing he’d eventually act up and the team would suffer regret. The GM might get fired, too, but the player gets paid either way.
The playoffs ended nearly two weeks ago and we’re still adjusting to the hardwood hiatus (shoutout to the WNBA for scratching the itch). With NBA action on pause, the offseason drama is here and a major twist is ahead. Irving’s impending decision will reverberate around the league and the locker room he shares—for now—with former MVP Kevin Durant.
June 29 is Irving’s deadline to accept or decline his player option with Brooklyn. That might seem like a no-brainer: “OK, I’ll let you pay me $36 million for one season. You’re welcome.”
But Irving actually has good reason to pause. Turning down the option creates the prospect of a multi-year deal worth goo-gobs more money. According to multiple reports, the Nets have struggled to reach a long-term contract with their mercurial guard, who thus created a list of preferred trade destinations and received permission to explore them.
He shouldn’t count on fierce interest from most, reportedly the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers, New York Knicks, Miami Heat, Dallas Mavericks, and Philadelphia 76ers.
Heat owner Micky Arison likely had Irving in mind two days after the reports. Arison tweeted out a link to “This is the Best Evidence Yet that Anti-Vaxxers Kill,” an article putting him at direct odds with Irving, a notorious vax rejecter. Clippers president Lawrence Frank seemingly threw shade last week when asked about the player traits he seeks in deals. Frank told reporters that “basketball character is, like, can you be counted on every single day to do what you do at the highest level, and are you—how committed are you through those habits?”
Let the record show that Irving took two leaves of absence in 2020-21—he was spotted at a relative’s birthday party during the unauthorized disappearance—and played only 33 of 85 games last season (including the playoffs), primarily because he refused the vaccine.
I don’t see Mavericks coach Jason Kidd
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