If the title-starved Brooklyn Nets and Kyrie Irving held a staring contest during stalled contract talks, the veteran superstar must've blinked first. According to NBA insider Shams Charania, Irving's tenure with the franchise will last at least one more season, as he's elected to exercise his $36 million player option for the 2022-23 campaign and remain with the Nets. Irving's decision comes only hours after ESPN insider Brian Windhorst reported that the team was prepared to see both Irving and Kevin Durant leave this offseason.
Irving's future with Brooklyn was seemingly in doubt prior to Monday, as he'd reportedly received permission to seek sign-and-trade candidates while talks on a contract extension were at an "impasse." Due to New York City's vaccine mandate, the 30-year-old didn't make his season debut until Jan. 5, and in 29 games, he averaged 27.4 points with 5.8 assists and 4.4 rebounds. His action will still speak louder than words -- he has until Wednesday to officially opt-in.
"So if you're the Nets, you're swinging for the fences one more time. This was always going to be a year-to-year deal and here it is," JR said during Monday's edition of the JR SportBrief show. "You've got one year to make this work with Kyrie Irving, to make this work with Kevin Durant... And the Nets, for all intents and purposes -- unless there's some major disaster, or Kyrie decides to go on vacation -- they're going to be back in contention.
"This is a disaster and crisis averted by the Brooklyn Nets, just because Kyrie has decided to stay... Well, I assume that, being in a contract year, he's going to play this time. He willingly gave up $17 million because he didn't want to be vaccinated. This upcoming season, being out there with no restrictions, he's going to get $36 million. Barring injury, I'd assume Kyrie plays 60-65 games... I think the Nets are going to get the best version of Kyrie next season."
JR's complete thoughts on Irving's future with Brooklyn can be accessed in the audio player above (conversation begins at 10 ET mark).