Lakers News: Kyrie Irving Picks Up Player Option For 2022-23 Season With Nets
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

With the start of NBA free agency just around the corner, the rumor mill has begun to heat up, and right in the middle of it is the Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving.

The Nets have reportedly been unwilling to offer Irving a full max extension due to his lack of availability the last few years for a variety of reasons. Because of that, Irving made it known that he wanted out of Brooklyn and gave the Nets a list of teams he would accept a trade to, which included the Lakers.

On Monday morning, it was reported that the Lakers were the only team on the list that had actual interest in acquiring Irving, although the Nets were unsurprisingly not interested in L.A.’s potential package of Russell Westbrook’s expiring contract and draft picks.

With the Lakers’ lack of cap space, the only way they could sign Irving as a free agent would be for him to opt out of his $36 million player option with the Nets and sign for the $6 million taxpayer mid-level exception.

While a nice threat to the Nets, that would require Irving taking a massive pay cut, which was never truly realistic. Now, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Irving has chosen to opt-in to his contract with the Nets for the 2022-23 season:

In true Irving fashion, the star put out a quote explaining his decision:

With Irving choosing to opt in, he and the Nets still have until June 30 to negotiate a long-term extension. If they are unable to come to an agreement then Irving could either play out the final year of his contract with the Nets or seek a trade once again.

Considering the Nets don’t seem to have interest in what the Lakers would have to offer, it would require a three-team deal where L.A. sends Westbrook elsewhere to make it happen. It wouldn’t hard-cap the Lakers though, so this was always the most realistic option to get Irving to L.A, even if unlikely.

Irving’s quote makes it seem like he’s planning on staying in Brooklyn, so it looks like the Lakers will have to look elsewhere to find roster upgrades for the 2022-23 season. The good news is that Rob Pelinka is aware of this now, avoiding putting all his eggs into one basket going into free agency.

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