Kyrie Irving is done with the Brooklyn Nets.
The Nets guard, who appeared to be in for the long haul with Brooklyn and Kevin Durant, formally requested a trade.
According to both Shams and Woj, Kyrie told the Nets on Friday that he’d like to be traded ahead of next week’s NBA Trade Deadline.
The deadline is Thursday afternoon, which means Brooklyn has less than a week to try and find the right deal or risk losing him for nothing in the summer.
“Brooklyn Nets All-Star Kyrie Irving has requested a trade,” Shams reported. “The franchise has been informed that Irving prefers to move on ahead of the Feb. 9 trade deadline – or will leave in free agency in July.”
Kyrie Irving trade request throws Brooklyn Nets into total chaos
It seemed like not that long ago that Irving might be in the long-term plans for Brooklyn. With James Harden out of the picture and a revamped Big 3 with Durant and Ben Simmons, Nets fans assumed things were going to be calm.
The joke is on anyone who assumes anything will be calm about Kyrie, other than what is mood is as he systematically destroys something.
It’s not his reputation this time, rather the thing being destroyed here is the Nets. Brooklyn now has less than a week to try and find a trade partner for their superstar guard. There’s potential upside in that Irving is still a top player in the league and there will be teams looking to acquire him. However, he cut the Nets out at the knees by indicating he’ll be leaving in the summer which takes almost all of Brooklyn’s leverage away.
Kyrie Irving contract
Let’s talk about that lack of leverage because it’s a pretty critical part of the narrative.
Kyrie is in the final year of a $136 million deal that he signed back in 2019-20, which means he’s an unrestricted free agent this summer. That’s why it was such a savage twist of the knife for Irving to say he won’t be returning to Brooklyn. One massive piece of leverage the Nets could have held in trade talks would have been to say they’d settle for trying to re-sign Kyrie this summer rather than take a deal that didn’t return the maximum value.
That’s out the window now, and while the Nets will still have a bidding war among contenders who want to add Kyrie, the auction will be pennies on the dollar rather than a blockbuster trade package.
Of course, that could still happen. If a team like the Los Angeles Lakers wants to land Kyrie to form a Big 3 with LeBron James and Anthony Davis, they’ll need help to make it happen.