It’s becoming increasingly possible that Kyrie Irving will play for a new team in the 2022-2023 NBA season.

Irving and the Brooklyn Nets have reached an impasse regarding his future with the team, according to The Athletic, opening the door for the point guard to head elsewhere this summer.

Irving has until June 29 to opt-in to the final year of his contract with the Nets, and the two sides haven’t reached a deal on a long-term agreement. By turning down his $36.9 million player option and failing to sign a new contract with the Nets, Irving would become a free agent.

If Irving leaves Brooklyn, the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers and New York Knicks are expected to be interested in acquiring the seven-time All-Star, The Athletic reports.

None of those potential suitors would have an easy time adding Irving to their roster. The Lakers, Clippers and Knicks are projected to be over the salary cap. The Los Angeles teams have two of the NBA’s highest payrolls. 

 

 

 

Only the Detroit Pistons, Orlando Magic, Indiana Pacers and San Antonio Spurs are expected to have payrolls below the salary cap. The teams with available cap space all missed the 2022 playoffs and aren’t close to competing for a championship.

Irving’s most likely exit from Brooklyn would come through a sign-and-trade deal. The Nets could get something in return for the point guard, though it probably wouldn’t be close to equal value.

It’s hard to imagine the Lakers trading for Irving without including a third team in a trade. Russell Westbrook and his $47 million salary would have to be part of the deal. The Nets almost certainly won’t agree to acquire the Lakers’ guard.

The Clippers would have an easier time trading for Irving. Because the Clippers are over the luxury tax, they can probably only acquire Irving in a trade after he opts into the final year of his current contract.

The Knicks have less money committed to players than the Lakers and Clippers for next season. In order to acquire Irving, the Knicks might have to include multiple first-round picks in a three-team trade.

The Nets can offer Irving a five-year max contract worth close to $250 million. Brooklyn doesn’t appear willing to pay Irving anything close to that amount. In three seasons with the Nets, Irving has played 103 regular-season games.

The Nets have only won a single playoff series since signing Irving and Kevin Durant in the summer of 2019. After being NBA championship favorites for most of the season, Brooklyn was swept by the Boston Celtics in the first round of the 2022 playoffs.

Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving Kevin Durant (L) and Kyrie Irving (R) of the Brooklyn Nets converse during a game against the Toronto Raptors at Amalie Arena on April 27, 2021. Photo: Getty Images/Julio Aguilar