While the departure of Kyrie Irving seems more and more likely, the main questions are now “where?” ” and how ? “. The Los Angeles Lakers appear for the moment as the clear favorites to recover the leader. So he might be ready to give up his salary to sign there as a free agent.
In just over 24 hours, we’ll find out if Irving is actually considering taking such a risk. He will have to decide by then whether or not to activate his $36.5 million player option for the 2022-2023 season. If he chooses to decline it, he will be able to go to free agency, but his sign-and-trade will be much more difficult.
According to Jake Fischer of the Bleacher Report, it is possible that the point guard finally accepts a contract of 6 million with the Lakers. He would then not need a transfer and could simply join LeBron James, his former teammate, as a free agent. This scenario seems more and more likely in the eyes of sources close to the situation, still according to the journalist.
However, the rumor should be taken with a grain of salt. It is still a question of a sacrifice of more than 30 million dollars for Kyrie Irving. The prospect of him agreeing to a short-term contract, for such a fee, is in stark contrast to what he’s apparently asking the Nets for. He would nevertheless have the possibility of signing a long-term, more lucrative deal with Los Angeles in 2023.
Tragedy for the Nets, utopia for the Lakers
If that’s the path he chooses, the Brooklyn Nets will lose their star for nothing. This is the worst case scenario, by far, for the franchise. The project, which revolves around his tandem with Kevin Durant, could then collapse. The winger would no longer speak to the front office of Sean Marks at present, according to the New York Daily News. One more reason to panic.
Irving would have the firm intention to join James at the Lakers if he were to change teams. The other tracks, like the Clippers and the Knicks, would only be “noise”, according to Sam Amick of The Athletic. But the 17-title franchise lacks the assets to agree on a sign-and-trade with the Nets.
It could therefore be that free agency is the only way for the player to achieve his goal. The reunion of the duo that won a title in Cleveland in 2016 thus seems more and more plausible.
It would be a dream come true for Los Angeles, which would find in Kyrie Irving an unexpected reinforcement after two difficult seasons. The leader comes out of a year with 27.4 points, 5.8 assists and 4.4 rebounds, 41.8% three-point average, and appears to be the solution to many problems in the workforce. Suffice to say that, if he really accepts their midlevel exception, it would be a masterstroke on the part of the franchise.
We will soon be fixed on the credibility of this scenario. That would come as a surprise to most observers, but if any player has to do it, it’s Kyrie Irving.