Report: Kyrie Irving likely to opt in, sign extension with Nets

Brooklyn Nets' Kyrie Irving
John Conrad Williams, Jr./Newsday RM via Getty Images
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Nets general manager Sean Marks made it sound as if Brooklyn isn’t totally committed to Kyrie Irving. The Nets are reportedly unwilling to offer Irving a long-term deal. Other teams reportedly believe Brooklyn is open to signing-and-trading Irving.

But when push comes to shove…

Brian Lewis of the New York Post:

Irving has until June 29 to decide whether he will opt out of the final $36.5 million year of his contract for 2022-23 and become a free agent. But both Nets and league sources told The Post an extension is more likely.

If Irving opts in and signs an extension, his max over the next five years would be $240,077,441 (including $7,332,400 in incentives – the same incentives in his current contract).

If Irving opts out and signs a new contract, his max over the next five years would project to be about $248 million.

For those who believe Brooklyn will limit Irving’s deal to four years to match Kevin Durant‘s extension, the difference would be $184,049,330 ($5,621,200 in incentives) with an opt-in/extension vs. a projected $191 million on a new contract.

Maybe Irving would cut the Nets a break by opting in. But not only would opting out allow him to demand more money, it’d also allow him and the team to include new terms in a fresh contract. They wouldn’t be stuck with the same incentives agreed upon three years ago and could include new ones.

To most fans, this probably just looks like semantics. But there is a meaningful difference between Irving opting in/signing an extension vs. opting out/signing a new contract.

I’d be surprised if Irving opts in and immediately signs an extension. If Irving opts in, that’s most likely because he sees his $36,503,300 player-option salary (plus $1.15 million in potential incentives) as preferable to pursuing a long-term deal right now.

Irving’s stock is low after he missed 53 games last season due to his decision not to get vaccinated/New York’s vaccine mandate/Nets’ initial decision to sit him for road games until he became fully eligible.

But Irving remains highly talented and close with Durant. Irving already said he plans to stay in Brooklyn. The team and player seem too far down the road with each other for a breakup.

Still, even if Irving and the Nets stick together – far from a certainty – key questions remain about the mechanics of his deal.