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As part of a general point about the direction of the franchise, Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks sent a message to Kyrie Irving and the rest of the team.
Speaking to reporters Wednesday, Marks said the Nets are “looking for guys that want to be a part of something bigger than themselves, play team basketball, and be available” when asked if they were committed to Irving long-term:
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“We’re looking for guys that want to be a part of something bigger than themselves, play team basketball, and be available. That goes not only for Kyrie but everybody here.”
Sean Marks on if the Nets are committed to Kyrie long-term.
Irving’s playing status was one of the biggest stories of the season. He was unavailable for home games for most of the year because he did not get a COVID-19 vaccine.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams rolled back the city’s vaccine mandate March 24, allowing unvaccinated athletes to play home games.
Irving made his season debut at Barclays Center on March 27 against the Charlotte Hornets. The seven-time All-Star played in each of the Nets’ final 14 games, including the playoffs. It was his longest streak of consecutive games played since the 2017-18 season.
Following an impressive Game 1 performance in the postseason against the Boston Celtics, Irving’s performance fell off dramatically as the Nets got swept. He totaled 46 points on 16-of-43 shooting over the final three games after putting up 39 points on 12-of-12 shooting in the opener.
Brooklyn’s loss to the Celtics opened up questions about Irving’s future with the organization. The 30-year-old can become a free agent by turning down his $36.5 million option for 2022-23. He told reporters April 26 he doesn’t plan on going anywhere.
“When I say I’m here with [Kevin Durant]I think that it really entails us managing this franchise together alongside [governor] Joe [Tsai] and Sean [Marks] and just our group of family members that we have in our organization,” said Irving.
Irving is eligible to sign a five-year, $246 million extension with the Nets if he opts out of his deal. He has averaged 27.1 points and made 40.6 percent of his three-point attempts in three seasons with Brooklyn, but he’s only appeared in 103 games.