In their mind, the Nets are already in the playoffs. Iron sharpens iron, and the sharpest metal will win it all this season. “It’s about time we got tested in terms of just having to think the game on a different level, knowing that teams are shaping up for the playoffs,” Kyrie Irving said. “And we’ve done our best to make sure that we’re ready to play, but now we’ve got to think the game going up against some of these good teams, especially on the road. “Stuff happens, but I think it’s good we have those tests now, those challenges, you know? It’s been too easy at times,” Irving continued. “So, it’s good.”
June 28, 2022 | 12:13 pm EDT Update
Matej Sportinfo: Luka and Goran were asked about the possibility of them playing together in Dallas next season. Luka: “I would like to answer that, but I think it’s a 100.000 penalty if I did. You should ask the GM about that.” Goran: “We can’t talk about it till july 1st.”
Westbrook’s agent Thad Foucher is planning to file the paperwork Tuesday, sources said. Westbrook has a Wednesday deadline on his option. Westbrook, an eight-time All-Star and 2017 NBA Most Valuable Player, enters the final season of his original five-year, $206 million contract.
June 28, 2022 | 11:13 am EDT Update
We’re talking about, you know, high-ranking people who believe that Kyrie is not this is not done. I don’t know. Yeah, let me just say this about the Lakers: He obviously was very interested in joining the Lakers, and the Lakers are very interested in having him. The problem is, is that the Lakers can’t really right now.
The Nets and Irving did come close to an agreement late last week, sources said, before talks stalled out. Sources said Irving had three potential opt-in-and-trade options available to pursue before making his final decision. Across the league, there are only five teams with projected salary-cap space: Detroit, San Antonio, Orlando, Indiana and New York, with all wanting to build around younger players or prioritizing other free agents. For their part, the Lakers were much more motivated to have Irving sign as a free agent than they were in acquiring the three-time All-NBA guard via trade, sources said. And as Irving went through his opt-in-and-trade options — as well as the potential of joining the Lakers in free agency — the decision to return to Brooklyn crystalized.
Irving’s agent, Shetellia Riley Irving, and the Nets front office held extensive and productive extension discussions over the past six days, with sources on both sides describing good-faith negotiations to reach a new deal. The Nets and Shetellia Riley Irving worked through various proposals, including a two-year max extension that included incentives based on games played as well as a four-year max that included two years guaranteed and triggers for years three and four based on the games played in years one and two, sources said. Irving showed a willingness to accept an incentive-based deal before a final counter was made to the Nets, according to sources: a short-term contract extension protecting both sides with a player option. Brooklyn declined.
Several teams are expected to continue to pursue Irving via trade, but his opt-in makes clubs consider more closely whether to trade assets in a deal for a player who will enter unrestricted free agency in 2023. Teams across the league understand Irving’s talent, and now a full season in 2022-23 allows him the opportunity to prove himself once again, then return to the market and earn a maximum contract next summer. Multiple sources with knowledge of his decision said Irving wants to prioritize winning a championship next season and show why he’s one of the best players in the league.