Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving has long had one of Nike’s most popular and profitable signature basketball shoes, but uncertainties surrounding his NBA future have left the company unlikely to extend him to a similar signature deal beyond the 2022-23 season, sources told ESPN. Irving has a new edition of his shoe set to debut in the fall, but that is expected to be the final year of a lucrative signature series that he has had with Nike since 2014, sources said.
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Irving, 30, possesses a $37 million player option with the Nets for the 2022-23 season. In July, Irving lashed out on social media about the design of the Nike Kyrie 8 edition of his shoe, calling them “trash” and insisting that “I have nothing to do with the design or marketing” and that “Nike plans to release it without my okay.”
Shams Charania: Kyrie Irving’s statement after his comments on Nike last week: pic.twitter.com/wuto7w041r
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July 1, 2022 | 2:47 am EDT Update
When the two-time NBA Finals MVP made it known he wanted to be traded out of Brooklyn, expected business quickly fell by the wayside as teams tried to reposition themselves to at least make an offer. According to a source, the Bulls were a part of those phone calls, despite Durant reportedly having the Heat and Suns among his desired destinations — and despite the reality that the Bulls don’t have the type of high-profile player or quality of draft picks the Nets were looking for in a trade package.
Phoenix has the kinds of players who might make this a win-win for all involved — namely, Suns small forward Mikal Bridges and restricted free agent center DeAndre Ayton. In the days before Irving’s choice to opt-in, sources close to Ayton had raised this possibility of an Ayton-Bridges deal being very much on their radar. At that time, however, it was unclear whether Durant was going to ask out.
Beck: I asked a well-connected NBA source which teams, other than the increasingly desperate Lakers, would be willing to acquire Irving. His answer: “None.” I think I agree. The league has seen Irving wreak a lot of havoc over the last five years, from Cleveland to Boston to Brooklyn. It’s left an impression. But the Lakers badly need another scorer/playmaker next to LeBron and AD, and Irving is an infinitely better fit than Russell Westbrook.