Brooklyn Nets All-Star guard Kyrie Irving has requested a trade from the team, CBS Sports' Bill Reiter confirmed Friday. Irving has informed the Nets that he prefers to be traded ahead of the Feb. 9 deadline, or he'll leave in free agency in July.
This trade demand comes after Irving and the Nets were unable to come to an agreement on a contract extension, per Bleacher Report's Chris Haynes. Brooklyn reportedly offered Irving an extension recently with "guarantee stipulations," per The Athletic's Shams Charania, which was "not received well" by Irving's camp and was ultimately denied.
This issue dates back to this past offseason, when Irving was holding out for an extension from the Nets before opting in to the final year of his deal with the team. Irving was then reportedly given permission by the Nets to seek sign-and-trade opportunities with other teams, but nothing came to fruition. Ultimately, Irving opted into the final year of his deal with the intention of chasing a championship alongside Kevin Durant.
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However, Irving's trade request has thrown a wrench in Brooklyn's plans for this season, and with the star guard issuing an ultimatum, the Nets may lose leverage in trying to get back value for him. Teams around the league likely won't be willing to give up too much if they know they can get Irving this summer without trading away any valuable assets.
While Irving hasn't listed preferred teams he would like to be traded to, he has maintained interest in joining the Los Angeles Lakers, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. The Lakers and Dallas Mavericks are two teams that the Nets are expected to engage in trade talks with, per Marc Stein. Here's a full list of potential landing spots for Irving from CBS Sports' Sam Quinn.
The Nets' hesitancy in offering Irving a lucrative long-term deal stems from a variety of factors. Just this season alone Irving was suspended by the team after sharing antisemitic content on Twitter, and for failing to apologize after given ample opportunity to do so. Last season he was suspended by the team for failing to get vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to play in home games, and then could only participate in away games until New York City's vaccine mandate was lifted. Prior to that he also missed two weeks worth of games as part of an unapproved absence. Given Irving's history of availability issues, it makes sense why the Nets are weary in offering him a max extension.
Irving's decision to request a trade is just the latest in what's been a very newsworthy year-plus for Brooklyn, a team that traded away a different star guard (James Harden) at the 2022 deadline. Durant requested a trade prior to free agency this past summer, but later rescinded it, followed by the team firing head coach Steve Nash after a disastrous start to the season. However, following the firing of Nash and Irving's suspension, the Nets began to course correct and at one point held the No. 2 spot in the Eastern Conference. Brooklyn has stumbled since Durant's MCL sprain, but Irving's play has kept the Nets afloat to the tune of a 31-20 record, good for fourth place in the East.
Irving has come up clutch on multiple occasions for Brooklyn in Durant's absence, and earned his eighth All-Star selection this season while averaging 27.1 points and 5.3 assists. With the recent news that Durant could return before the All-Star break, Brooklyn was in good position to move up the standings with a fully healthy squad, so Irving's trade request is surprising.
Instead of focusing on trying to add weapons around Durant and Irving for a postseason push, the Nets will now have to figure out what to do with their point guard ahed of the trade deadline.