Editor’s Note: Moments after Rich Bucher’s report out on Thursday, Kyrie Irving responded with a gif essentially saying the intel Bucher received was “cap.”
According to Rich Bucher of Fox Sports, Kyrie Irving reportedly had some unique demands he wanted his reps to include in the new deal he signed with the Nets this summer.
The Irving free agency saga ended with him signing his player-option to fulfill his promise to play at least four years with close friend Kevin Durant. The main demands Irving wanted in his deal included Irving wanting a guarantee he wouldn’t have to play more than 60 games and that he could sit out back-to-back games.
“[Nets governor] Joe Tsai has already shown he’s willing to play hardball with Kyrie by taking a max extension off the table almost immediately,” Bucher said on his podcast. “Now, part of that may be Kyrie’s doing. I’m told he wanted his new contract to guarantee he wouldn’t have to play more than 60 games in a season and would not have to play any back-to-backs, which he apparently referred to as inhumane.”
Irving averaged 27.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 5.8 assists per game on 46.9 percent shooting from the field and 41.8 percent from beyond the arc in the 29 games he played this year. Irving’s decision to remain unvaccinated against COVID-19 led to him missing a large chunk of the season due to Brooklyn’s decision not to allow him to play until he was vaccinated.
The Nets’ position changed in December as the NBA dealt with a League-wide virus outbreak. Brooklyn decided to allow Irving to play away games at first, and when New York City reversed course on their vaccine mandates, Irving was also eligible to play home games.
Brooklyn’s immediate future seems to be in disarray as the front office looks to address Durant’s trade request. It also appears as though the Nets are willing to let Irving walk in free agency after GM Sean Marks’ non-committal remarks about keeping the 2016 champion around. Irving has played 103 games over the last three seasons and didn’t play at least 30 games in a season twice.