While Irving didn’t miss a step when he came back, his presence wasn’t enough to help the nets move past the first round of playoffs. Four games into the 2022 playoffs, the Nets were eliminated by the Eastern Conference’s eventual champions, the Boston Celtics.
Once Brooklyn’s season ended, Irving’s future was called into question. With a player option on his contract for next season, Irving had a crucial choice. The All-Star guard could return to Brooklyn for the 2022-2023 season and could earn more than $36 million.
Or Irving could get to the open market and secure a different deal with a different team. The market was dry for Irving, but the Los Angeles Lakers were interested in reuniting Irving and LeBron James. However, the financial situation in Los Angeles made it difficult to turn the dream into a reality.
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After several days of speculation, Irving finally shocked the basketball world and made his choice for next season. Although it was clear that the Nets would continue to search for a business partner to get Irving out of their hands, the relationship between the Irving and the Nets appears not to be as strained as it once seemed, according to Ian Begley of Cuts.
“A source close to Irving said this week that the seven-time All-Star is in a good place with the Nets and comfortable to enter the 2022-23 season. If Irving and Durant bring back the nets, they would have one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference on paper. Irving, and Durant, Ben Simmons, Patti Mills, Joe Harris, Seth Curry, Nick Claxton and the players/extras belonging to the Nets make up a strong roster.”
With Kevin Durant still waiting to trade, and Irving’s condition bouncing all over, it’s unclear what Brooklyn will look like when the Philadelphia 76ers face their next season.
The two Atlantic contenders will meet for the first time during the pre-season in early October in the openers. After that, they will face each other at least four times in the regular season, with the dates for those matches to be announced.
The Sixers seem to have seen Irving in the Nets jersey for the last time during the 2021-2022 season, but with the passage of time and no commercial offerings anywhere, it was very possible that the Nets could have Irving on board for next season.
Justin Grasso covers Philadelphia 76ers for the All76ers, Sports Illustrated’s channel. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: MustafaHosny Oh God, Amen.