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Kyrie Irving’s name was mentioned in trade rumors Thursday, and his time with the Brooklyn Nets could be coming to an end with the start of free agency looming.
The Nets star, who signed with the team prior to the start of the 2019-20 season, has a $36.5 million player option he could opt into to facilitate a trade.
He could choose to test free agency in hopes of a max contract but getting the most money on the open market won’t be guaranteed.
He has until June 29 to decide whether he will opt into the deal.
Irving created a list of teams he would want to be traded to should he and the Nets consider a sign-and-trade if they cannot hammer out an extension, ESPN reported.
The Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, New York Knicks, Miami Heat, Dallas Mavericks and Philadelphia 76ers are reportedly on the list.
According to the report, the Nets and Irving can only discuss the possibility of him opting into the final year of his current deal and cannot talk a new deal until free agency starts June 30.
Whatever Irving and the Nets decide to do could affect Kevin Durant.
Irving and Durant arrived in Brooklyn together in 2019. And while the point guard was away from the team in 2021, Durant was his biggest defender. The Athletic’s Shams Charania said on the Stadium broadcast that Durant was “seriously mulling his future options with the Nets” and has been “monitoring the situation.”
He added there was an “expectation” Irving would proceed shortly “into finding a new home via an opt-in and trade.”
Brooklyn general manager Sean Marks said last month that conversations about Irving’s deal were ongoing, but he was noncommittal about the point guard’s future with the franchise.
“So he has to look at what he’s going to do with his player option and so forth like that,” Marks said. “I think we know what we’re looking for. We’re looking for guys that want to come in here and be part of something bigger than themselves. Play selfless, play team basketball and be available … and that goes not only for Kyrie but for everybody here.”
Irving expressed interest in staying in Brooklyn.