The drama never stops in the NBA. When Is Kyrie Irving A Free Agent NBA?
While the Nets were knocked out in the first round of the 2022 NBA Playoffs, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant found themselves back in the news cycle a month later.
On May 24, Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News wrote a story detailing how “the game ends much closer than it appears” for the Nets. In it, he reports that the franchise doesn’t want a long-term commitment to Irving and that Durant hasn’t spoken to the Net’s main office since their season ended.
Is the writing on the wall for the Nets? Let’s take a closer look.
When Is Kyrie Irving a Free Agent?
Irving has a $36.9 million player option on his contract for the 2022-23 season. If he decides not to pick it, he will be an unrestricted free agent this season, allowing him to sign with any team of his choice.
As complicated as Irving’s situation is – more than that below – there’s no denying his talent. He has compiled one of the best seasons of his career in 2020-21, scoring 26.9 points on .506 / .402 / .922. He’s only appeared in 26 games this season, but he ended his career averaging 27.4 points per game.
Since being picked as #1 in the 2011 NBA Draft, Irving has won seven All-Star picks, three All-NBA picks, and a championship. If he decides to test free agency this season, he will be one of the best players out there.
Why Didn’t The Nets Sign A Long-Term Extension With Kyrie Irving?
Since joining the Nets in 2019, Irving has appeared in 103 of 226 possible regular matches.
Some of those absences were injury-related, but Irving’s COVID-19 vaccination status limited him to 29 games during the 2021-22 season. The Nets didn’t allow Irving to become a part-time player at the start of the season, and he was still ineligible to play in Brooklyn’s home games when he first joined the team.
Which Teams Can Sign Kyrie Irving In Free Agency?
In theory, any team could do it, but the only teams currently predicted to have the kind of confined space needed to sign a player of Irving’s caliber are the Pistons, Magic, Pacers and Spurs.
The Grizzlies and Trail Blazers can join the team but it will require them to make some moves in the roster.
Is Kevin Durant a Freelance Agent?
He is not.
Irving and Durant became the Nets at the same time, but Irving did not sign an extension before the 2021-22 season while Durant did. Durant has signed a 4-year, $198 million extension that will keep him under contract until 2025-26.
What Will Happen To Kevin Durant If Kyrie Irving Leaves?
That’s the question on everyone’s mind.
In his story, Winfield writes that a “source familiar with the Nets thought process” said the franchise was reluctant to give Irving a long-term extension. Not only that, but Winfield writes that a one-year contract is seen as “unacceptable” for Irving for obvious reasons – he’s a star in his 30s with a history of injuries.
If Irving continues into this season, it won’t put Durant in the best situation.
And if that happens, it wouldn’t be surprising if Durant became frustrated with his situation.
Durant’s former team, the Warriors, return to the NBA Finals probably didn’t help, and the team that eliminated him, the Celtics, are just one win away from the Finals.
He may be well into his 30s, but Durant remains one of the best players in the league.
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