Irving will opt into NBA deal and stay with Nets

Brooklyn star guard Kyrie Irving says he will opt into a $37 million player contract option for next season to remain with the NBA Nets, The Athletic reported Monday.

In this file photo, Kevin Durant high-fives Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets during the second half against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Barclays Center on April 08, 2022 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (AFP)

The report comes two days before a deadline for the 30-year-old American to decide about fulfilling his four-year commitment to the Nets and star big man Kevin Durant.

"Normal people keep the world going, but those who dare to be different lead us into tomorrow. I've made my decision to opt in. See you in the fall," Irving told The Athletic.

The report said Irving is skipping possible opt-in and trade moves to remain with Brooklyn and Durant, with hopes of finally producing an NBA title contender.

Irving has played only 103 games for the Nets over the past three seasons due to a variety of injuries and issues, including not being vaccinated for Covid-19 and prevented from playing in home games by New York safety regulations.

Even with two superstars, the Nets have been a disappointment, going 44-38 last season and being swept by Boston in the first round of the playoffs. Brooklyn lost to eventual champion Milwaukee in the second round last year.

Irving averaged 27.4 points, 5.8 assists, 4.4 rebounds and 1.4 steals a game over 29 contests for the Nets last season.

Over three seasons with Brooklyn, Irving has averaged 27.1 points and 6.0 assists.

The Nets traded star guard James Harden to Philadelphia late last season for Australian star Ben Simmons and if he returns at top form after back surgery it could help boost Brooklyn next season.

Durant was wanting to see about Irving's future plans before firming up his own long-term intentions.

The Nets have not gone past the second round of the NBA playoffs since losing the 2003 NBA Finals to San Antonio, when the Nets were based in New Jersey.