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The Brooklyn Nets enter the offseason with a series of question marks following a disappointing season, including the future of star point guard Kyrie Irving.
Irving played 29 games for the Nets last season, averaging 27.4 points and 5.8 assists per game.
Irving must now decide if he wants to pick up his $36.5 million player option, which he can decline this summer and become a free agent.
General manager Sean Marks recently said conversations with Irving would be ongoing, but he was non-committal about the point guard’s long-term future in Brooklyn.
“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 has also stated that he wants to stay in Brooklyn, but the Nets reportedly aren’t in favor of offering him a long-term deal.
A source told the New York Daily News that the Nets are unwilling to give Irving a long-term extension due to his injury history and his personal decision to not get vaccinated.
Irving had refused to get a coronavirus vaccine and was ruled out by the organization at the start of the season. He later returned to play away games before New York City dropped its mandate.
He made his Nets 2021-22 season debut on Jan. 5 and was a big reason why Brooklyn was able to limp into the playoffs. The team was later swept by the Boston Celtics in the first round.
Irving has about a month to decide if he wants to pick up his option. The Nets’ chances at an NBA title would take a huge hit without Irving on the roster.
Last week, the point guard expressed regret for wanting a trade from the Cleveland Cavaliers back in 2017 instead of staying with LeBron James to compete for more NBA titles.
“I’m continuously reminded over and over again, ‘Yo, you left Bron. How can you do that?’” Irving said on the “I AM ATHLETE” podcast. “You got his fanbase, you got my fanbase, and you got team fanbases going at it, ‘Yo why couldn’t this work?’”
“And I say this, I asked for a trade because I was looking for something different. I was a man of my word when I went to the organization, I sat the higher ups down and said, ‘Look, I know y’all have future plans, tell me right now.’ They told me their future plans, I said, ‘Look, this isn’t for me,'” he added.