Kyrie Irving Contract: Is the Nets Guard a Free Agent in 2022?

The Brooklyn Nets’ 2021-22 season ended much earlier than expected. They planned to compete for an NBA championship but instead suffered a first-round sweep to the Boston Celtics.

So, what’s in store for Brooklyn’s future?

The team has Kevin Durant locked down for quite a while. KD signed a contract extension last offseason that will keep him on the Nets through the 2025-26 campaign.

Kyrie Irving’s road ahead, on the other hand, isn’t as clear.

Irving discussed his future almost immediately after losing to the Celtics, but we won’t really know his plans until the talented point guard makes a big decision or two this offseason.

So, that means he’s a free agent in 2022? Not quite. Here’s a look at Irving’s contract situation.

Is Kyrie Irving a free agent in 2022?

Point guard Kyrie Irving, who signed a contract with the Brooklyn Nets in 2019.
Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets dribbles during a game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on April 8, 2022. | Sarah Stier/Getty Images

Kyrie Irving signed a four-year contract worth $136.5 million with the Nets in 2019. But he has a $36.9 million player option for 2022-23 (the final year of the deal), which means he can pick it up and play out his contract with the Nets next season. Or he can opt out (that’s why it’s called a player option) and become a free agent this offseason.

So, Irving isn’t technically a free agent quite yet, but he can become one by not picking up the final year of his contract.

Various other big-time stars also have player options for next season, including John Wall ($47.3 million), James Harden ($47.3 million), Russell Westbrook ($47 million), and Bradley Beal ($36.4 million).

So, what does Irving plan to do?

What does Kyrie Irving plan to do this offseason?

Kyrie Irving hasn’t said whether he plans to pick up his player option for 2022-23 yet. But a contract extension with the Nets could be in his future.

“In terms of my extension, man, I don’t really plan on going anywhere,” Irving, who also wants to co-manage the franchise, said after Brooklyn’s Game 4 loss to the Celtics, per SNY. “So, this (loss) is added motivation for our franchise to be at the top of the league for the next few years. I’m just looking forward to the summer and just building with our guys here.”

The seven-time All-Star sounds like someone committed to the Nets for the long haul, but it will be interesting to see what Brooklyn decides to pay him in the future. Irving is an elite talent and one of the most skilled players of all-time. Off the court, though, he has been a constant distraction. The Duke product missed numerous games for personal reasons in 2020-21 and then played only 29 regular-season contests in 2021-22 due to his vaccination status.

Do the Nets want to commit several years to someone who hasn’t been dedicated to being on the floor for them?

Time will tell, but it currently looks like Irving and the Nets plan to move forward together.

Contract numbers courtesy of Spotrac

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