Brooklyn Nets and Sean Marks want Kyrie Irving’s commitment and availability before contract talks begin – Basketball Network
Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets will have a summer full of long talks and discussions about the best ways to move forward in their relationship. But before any negotiations begin, a few things must first be settled: Irving’s commitment and availability.
Like all other title favorites who have failed miserably, the Nets should watch themselves long and hard to see what went wrong for their initially promising season. On paper, Brooklyn should be an instant final contender, but in reality, the team almost didn’t make the playoffs. There are problems to solve and difficult questions to ask to move forward in preparing for the next season. One of the priorities is Kyrie Irving, who is expected to become a free agent if he exercises his $36.5 million player option next season. Is it worth keeping the extension? Absolutely. But, in an interview with NY Post owner Sean Marks laid out the non-negotiables: commitment and availability.
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“We know what we’re looking for: we’re looking for guys who want to come here and be part of something bigger than themselves, play selflessly, play team basketball and be available. That goes not just for Kyrie, but for everyone here.
Marks was clear: Brooklyn is willing to spend, but only on what’s worth it. In the same interview, Sean mentioned the avoidable and unavoidable circumstances that affected their campaign this season. It’s not rocket science to figure out what doomed them — it was Irving’s refusal to get COVID shots. It ruined James Harden’s confidence and gave the team no time to build chemistry on the pitch. There’s no doubting Kyrie’s abilities, but the best uptime of any player is their uptime.
Does Irving deserve a multi-year extension?
The former Cleveland Cavaliers point guard is currently 30 years old. He showed flashes of what he could do on the floor when healthy, so it makes sense to give him an extension. He will be 34 at the end of his contract extension if he signs it. Meanwhile, Kevin Durant is 33 years old. If he’s still with the Nets after Irving’s contract, he’ll be 37. Ben Simmons’ return from injury does not yet have a timetable. But it’s safe to say that their championship window will be within the next two years. Sean Marks needs to make sure he has the right players who will sign up and be available for games if Irving or Simmons refuse to show up for any reason.
Keeping Simmons, Durant, and Irving in the lineup can bring in other big-name players, but Ky and Ben’s unavailability and behavior can also turn them off. Marks knows the team can’t afford to waste another Big 3 like they wasted the trio of KD, Harden and Irving. Now it’s up to him to build a team that could compete no matter who is available. The key is finding players willing to step up and do the hard work, regardless of the superstar players around them.