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LeBron James’ Lakers wishlist may have gotten a little shorter.
Though a definitive decision has not yet been made, NBA Insider Shams Charania, of The Athletic, reported this afternoon that Kyrie Irving does not want to be shipped out of Brooklyn, and has every intention of playing out at least the next season with the Nets.
For the majority of the offseason, Irving has widely been assumed to be on his way out of Brooklyn, with the Lakers pegged as a popular destination for the point guard’s services. Those rumors only intensified when Kevin Durant, who was linked to the Boston Celtics this morning, requested a trade after a disappointing 2021-22 Nets campaign.
Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets smiles during Round 1 Game 4 of the 2022 NBA Playoffs on April 25, 2022 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Regardless of Durant’s whereabouts, Irving wants to be in Brooklyn.
“Kyrie Irving opted in (to his contract) with the full intent of playing out next season as a Brooklyn Net, ” Charania told the The Pat McAfee Show. “From everything I’ve been told, in his mind, he’s playing next year in Brooklyn with or without Kevin Durant in a lot of ways.”
Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets plays defense during Round 1 Game 4 of the 2022 NBA Playoffs on April 25, 2022 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Kyrie’s preference to remain a Net regardless of whether or not Durant’s traded, shouldn’t change much from Brooklyn’s standpoint. In the pair’s three seasons together since joining the Nets, Irving and Durant have shared the court only 57 times.
Charania further discussed Irving’s decision to opt-in and his desire to remain with Brooklyn, telling Pat McAfee: “He was going to make the best decision for himself and Kevin Durant, on the other hand, is obviously making his decision as well.
“But from everything I’ve been told, Kyrie Irving has, you know, made his intent- he wants to play out next season in Brooklyn and be an unrestricted free agent next summer.”
Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets handles the ball against Marcus Smart #36 of the Boston Celtics during Round 1 Game 4 of the NBA Playoffs on April 25, 2022 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. (Photo by Evan Yu/NBAE via Getty Images)
In June, Irving opted into a one-year player extension that will pay him $36.5 million for the upcoming season. And though he has a desire to stay in Brooklyn, that doesn’t necessarily prevent the organization from sending him packing.
“If Brooklyn does manage to find a deal for Kevin Durant before the season, could they then look to pivot and move Kyrie Irving? For sure. Anything is possible, said Charania. “The price tag on a move like that would probably be a first-round pick or multiple first-round pick type assets.
Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets tries to get around Marcus Smart #36 of the Boston Celtics during Game Four of the Eastern Conference First Round Playoffs at Barclays Center on April 25, 2022 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The Boston Celtics defeated the Brooklyn Nets 116-112. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
“I don’t think they’re going to be just giving away Kyrie Irving for a second-rounder.”
Did you hear that, Lakers?