Rumors have swirled this week that Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets may not be able to reach an agreement on a contract extension, and several teams are reportedly keeping a close eye on the situation. Irving and at least one of those teams may have mutual interest.
Shams Charania of The Athletic reports that three teams — the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers and New York Knicks — are keeping tabs on Irving. Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer wrote on Tuesday that one of the reasons Irving has been linked to the Knicks is that head coach Tom Thibodeau “is a fan of Irving.” Fischer says NBA personnel have spoken for several weeks now about Irving possibly having interest in the Knicks or Lakers, though “few team executives have given much credence to that chatter.”
The Lakers and Clippers do not have a real path to signing Irving as a free agent. Irving would probably have to exercise his $36.9 million offer to help facilitate a sign-and-trade to either team if that were something that interested him. New York could, in theory, clear enough cap space by moving players.
Fischer also reports that Irving is seeking a long-term commitment from Brooklyn due to his recent injury history. The Nets would prefer a shorter-term deal that includes incentives that are tied to how much Irving plays.
It seems unlikely that Irving will exercise his player option unless he wants to facilitate a sign-and-trade. If his cryptic tweet meant what he thought it did, Irving will probably remain work something out with the Nets.