Report: Kyrie Irving, Nets were close on contract extension

Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving
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After acrimonious contract negotiations with the Nets, looking for ways to leave Brooklyn and reportedly publicly announcing his decision to opt in before informing the team, Kyrie Irving wants you to know he and the organization aren’t on completely different pages.

Shams Charania of The Athletic:

The Nets and Shetellia Riley Irving worked through various proposals, including a two-year max extension that included incentives based on games played as well as a four-year max that included two years guaranteed and triggers for years three and four based on the games played in years one and two, sources said. Irving showed a willingness to accept an incentive-based deal before a final counter was made to the Nets, according to sources: a short-term contract extension protecting both sides with a player option. Brooklyn declined.

The Nets and Irving did come close to an agreement late last week, sources said, before talks stalled out.

This is tough to follow. Was Brooklyn willing to do an incentive-laden max deal – just with different incentives than Irving wanted? Or was only Irving on board with that structure?

Clearly, this is spin from Irving’s side. Among the tipoffs: The framing of a potential new player option. Player options don’t protect both sides. Player options protect players. See Irving exercising his player option in his current contract.

But if the Nets and Irving truly came close to a contract extension, perhaps they’ll still sign one. By opting in, Irving remains eligible for an extension. Incentive-laden deals can get complicated. Now, both sides have all offseason to negotiate without the player-option deadline breathing down their necks.

(Really, Irving will be eligible for an extension until June 30, 2023. But once games begin, new factors will emerge. Conditions this offseason for an extension will remain mostly steady.)