Could Kyrie Irving have indeed played his final game as a Brooklyn Net.
According to Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report, the Nets intend to keep Irving sidelined until a trade is finalized ahead of the Feb. 9 deadline.
Irving, 30, did not play in Saturday’s 125-123 Nets win over the Washington Wizards after being placed on the injury report with “right calf soreness” just one day after he requested a trade from the team.
Per ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, Irving is apparently prepared to sit out the remainder of the season if he is not traded from the team by Thursday.
However, Brian Lewis of the New York Post reported Sunday that Irving has not made a decision on if he would sit out or not but is considering it as an option.
The Nets and Irving have been engaged in contentious contract extension negotiations dating back to the offseason, when the Nets refused to extend Irving beyond his one-year player option.
Irving eventually opted in and talks have continued this season, with the Nets reportedly willing to give Irving a max deal only under the condition he accept certain stipulations, which included winning a championship.
This reportedly “insulted” Irving, leading to his trade demand.
While the Nets are in fourth place in the Eastern Conference and Irving is having an All-Star season, he comes with plenty of baggage.
He missed a significant portion of the 2021-22 regular season because he refused to get vaccinated for COVID-19, which was required at the time for employees of private companies in New York City.
At the start of this season, Irving came under fire for tweeting a link to film that contained anti-Semitic tropes and repeatedly refusing to apologize for the promotion of it until after the league took matters into its own hands and suspended him.
It is certainly possible other teams may balk at giving Irving the max deal he is looking for as well. While Irving has a no-trade clause, he has not provided the Nets a list of preferred destinations, which means Brooklyn could trade him anywhere.
The Lakers, Clippers, Mavericks and Suns have all reportedly been linked as potential suitors for Irving.
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