Kyrie Irving is expected to opt out of his contract and become an NBA free agent this summer. Once he declines his player option, he will be eligible to receive a max offer of five years for close to $250 million from the Brooklyn Nets.
“Uncle Drew” all but confirmed this when he appeared on The ETCs, Kevin Durant’s podcast. Irving stressed that he’s looking to “put together four straight years of team dominance.” He would almost absolutely enjoy that while earning the max extension that he’s eligible to get from the Nets.
Dan Patrick on his podcast was incredulous with Kyrie Irving’s vision of long-term dominance:
“He [Irving] also says to Kevin Durant, ‘You know, I can see us on a four-year run of dominance.’ Well, that kind of times out for a max contract that if you give me a four-year contract and then we’ll have a four-year run. I’d be satisfied with a one-year run from Kyrie right now. Just a one-year run. How bout you play? You guys do something, bring it all together. A half-year, that might be good enough.”
Since signing up with the Brooklyn Nets to form a superteam with Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving has played in 20, 54 and 29 games in three seasons. He’s missed 123 and played only 103 games for the Nets since the 2019-20 season.
The mercurial point guard has missed significant time due to injuries and a controversial vaccine stance. He also left the team without saying anything to Steve Nash or Sean Marks. Kyrie Irving would come back several days later saying he just wanted to take a “pause.”
In two seasons with Kevin Durant, he's won only one playoff series, which was against the Boston Celtics in last year’s playoffs. Boston didn’t have Jaylen Brown in that series and won just one game.
The Celtics returned the favor this season, sweeping Durant and Irving in one of the most disappointing seasons of all time.
Dan Patrick is right. Kyrie Irving hasn’t even provided a year’s dominance with the Brooklyn Nets. GM Sean Marks might have second thoughts about the full max extension given Irving’s terrible body of work.
Will the Brooklyn Nets give in to Kyrie Irving’s expectations of a max extension?
If not for Kevin Durant, this will be an easy no. “Kai’s” leverage is KD’s friendship. Irving’s record in the playoffs since leaving LeBron James is simply average. Dominating is an absolute reach when he’s only 11-11 in the postseason without “King James.”
In the series against the Boston Celtics, Kyrie Irving was only dominant in the fourth quarter of Game 1 when he dropped 18 points. The rest of the way, he had some stretches of good play but largely disappeared in the face of Boston’s relentless defense.
As Shaquille O'Neal suggested on an episode of The Big Podcast, 10-15 stipulations should be part of the Brooklyn Nets' offer of a max contract. Among the conditions to be met will be games played, All-Star and All-NBA selections and an NBA Finals appearance.
Shaq’s proposal may be the best way to proceed. The Brooklyn Nets can’t take Irving’s word of a four-year dominance when he’s shown that he can just quit at any time.