Following a chaotic season ending in a first-round sweep, the Brooklyn Nets may face a major Kyrie Irving problem this offseason.
The star point guard can opt out of his current contract and sign a five-year, $245.6 million extension this offseason. While he didn't say whether he'll stay under his $36.5 million salary or go for the long-term deal, Irving made his intentions to remain with the Nets clear after getting eliminated by the Boston Celtics.
But do the Nets want him? He's only played 103 regular-season games with the team through three seasons, including missing most of 2021-22 because he would not get vaccinated for COVID-19. They may not trust the 30-year-old to steer them into the championship picture.
The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor contemplated the team's Irving situation. He suggested Brooklyn could be stuck without many options, as there probably won't be an active trade market for the polarizing star.
"One big problem for the Nets: There likely aren’t a lot of Kyrie suitors, if any," O'Connor wrote. "Few teams wanted him way back in 2017 when he hit the trade block, and his value has plummeted since."
He added that the Nets heard "crickets" when listening to offers for Irving in October, as reported at the time by The Athletic's Shams Charania.
Irving's status isn't the only question the Nets must answer this offseason. They'll have to keep working to ready Ben Simmons for his on-court return while deciphering what level of production they can reasonably expect from the 25-year-old.
If Irving sticks around, they'll have to rebuild a supporting cast around him, Simmons, and Kevin Durant without much cap scare. And as O'Connor noted, retaining the point guard to a long-term extension could backfire substantially.
"It’s difficult to find even theoretical situations because so few teams are desperate to acquire a 30-year-old headache about to demand $50 million annually," he wrote. "It has the potential to one day turn into the NBA’s worst contract."