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 be settled first: Irving’s commitment and availability.
Sean Marks’ comments on availability
Like any other title favorites that failed miserably, the Nets should take a long and hard look at themselves to see what went wrong for their season that was initially promising. On paper, Brooklyn should be instant final contenders, but in reality, the team almost didn’t make the playoffs. There are issues to be addressed and challenging questions to be asked moving forward in preparing for the next season. One of the priorities is Kyrie Irving, who is set to become a free agent if he exercises his $36.5 million player option next season. Is he worth keeping the extension? Absolutely. But, in an interview with NY Post owner Sean Marks laid out the non-negotiables: commitment and availability.
“We know what we’re looking for: We’ve looking for guys that want to come in here and be part of something bigger than themselves, play selfless, play team basketball and be available. That goes not only for Kyrie, but for everybody here.”
Marks made it clear: Brooklyn is ready to spend but only for those 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’s Irving’s refusal to get COVID jabs. It ruined James Harden’s trust and gave no time for the team to build chemistry on the floor. There is no questioning Kyrie’s abilities, but the best availability of any player is their availability.
Is Irving deserving of a multi-year extension?
The former Cleveland Cavaliers point guard is currently 30 years old. He’s shown flashes of what he could do on the floor when healthy, so giving him an extension is logical. He will be 34 when his contract extension ends if he signs it. Meanwhile, Kevin Durant is 33. If he’s still with the Nets after Irving’s contract, he will be 37. Ben Simmons’ return from injury has no timetable yet. But it’s safe to say their championship window will be in the next two years. Sean Marks needs to make sure to get the right players who will commit and be available for games if Irving or Simmons refuses to show up for some reason.
Keeping Simmons, Durant, and Irving in the lineup may attract other big-name players, but Ky and Ben’s unavailability and behavior may also turn them off. Marks knows the team cannot afford to waste another Big 3 the way it wasted the trio of KD, Harden, and Irving. It’s now up to him to build a team that could contend no matter who’s available. The key is to find players willing to step up and do the hard work regardless of the superstar players around them.