Kyrie Irving and the big question of the 247 million dollars

At this point, you no longer have to wonder who Kyrie Irving is. We already know who he is. Demons, he himself does nothing to disguise or hide how things are going to go if you want to count on his captivating talent. One of the greatest in NBA history, if we talk about handling the ball and scoring baskets: the ABC of the game. That talent is so monumental that, added to that of Kevin Durant, we did not dare to rule out the Nets until it was clear that the boycott that the franchise itself had applied had devoured everything, eaten away any possibility of late reaction. It is so much that, at least until now, there was always going to be an endless list of teams willing to tolerate the stuff of Kyrie; to deal with his comings and goings, to cross his fingers so that everything flows with him. Which he doesn’t usually. The Nets did too, and have ended up being the first team in history that has spent more than 170 million dollars in salaries to not win a game of playoffs. They are also the first to start a season as the number 1 favorite at the Las Vegas sportsbooks and not even make it past the first round.

Kyrie is 30 years old. He will arrive at the 2023 Playoffs with 31. En the last five years, 41% of the games have been lost. In the three he’s had on the Nets, he has missed 123 and played 103 of 226 total. It is already known: last season he did not want to be vaccinated, it caused a media farce that he mixed with the New York City regulations against the pandemic. Since he could only play at home, the Nets pushed him aside to avoid the circus. But when things weren’t going great (although they were only going to get worse from there) and Kevin Durant had to squeeze himself every night to get games going, the Nets backed down and they accepted to Kyrie. Everyone except James Harden, who was already in a bad mood and for whom, it was said later, Kyrie’s resignation was a key factor in his lack of temper. When Kuyrie returned in January after 35 games on the sidelines, he spent a few months playing alone on the road. He finished with 29 disputed out of 82, only six on his track when the city rules were relaxed, and too many minutes (37.6 per night, the best of his career) because his team needed each victory to, already uphill, cling to the playoff of the play in. Uphill, in large part, because Irving had spent too much time away from the team. But with him it is not only that: he has suffered many injuries and in the 2020-21 season, the one before this, he was absent for two weeks for reasons that were never revealed.

Number 1 in the 2011 draft, the Cavs did not exceed 33 wins in the three years in which he led the team before the return of LeBron James. After winning the ring in 2016, and playing at a superlative level as King’s squire in the biggest comeback in history, he got fed up with his teammate’s long shadow and went to the Celtics, where he got fed up with don’t really know what. But he got fed up. And in 2019 he decided to meet with the Nets with Kevin Durant, a franchise that came from the most absolute sporting ruin and that, of course, bowed to everything that the two superstars wanted, believed and believed they wanted..

Kyrie is a superlative, unique, indefensible player. With everything he’s been through, this season he has averaged 27.4 points and 5.8 assists. In March he scored 50 points on just 19 shots and a week later he hit 60. In playoffs he played a fabulous first game, in Boston, and three too low-key ones after that. And he assured that it had been a very hard year, with a lot of emotional weight and in which he had felt that he had disappointed his companions and, with more reason than a saint, that he had been a distraction. He also said, in case the Nets want cause for optimism, that he would still be there alongside Kevin Durant. Because, in case you want reasons to tremble, his job was “run the franchise” alongside small forward, owner (Joseph Tsai) and general manager (Sean Marks).

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But There’s a problem: Kyrie is a free agent. Or you can choose to be because you have a player option of 36.9 million dollars for the next season. The Nets, who first gave lessons in chemistry and morals to explain the base’s ostracism and then changed the speech to reintegrate him, in the midst of chaos, did not consider (or so it has been said) offer him a maximum extension at the start of this convulsive course for four years and about 191 million. Now Kyrie, if you don’t take your player optionyou have the option of sign a maximum contract with the Nets for five years and 247.6 million. Or he can go to another team and make $183.6 million over four years.

In theory, giving a maximum contract to a player like him should be an unquestionable decision. The closest thing to an immediate certainty. But I remember He will be 31 years old, he has lost 41% of the games in the last five years and his behavior has been increasingly erratic. It has not been reliable, much less as a reference for the dressing room, and it has ended up becoming a factor of imbalance and problems. It’s not even easy to be clear, really, if you want to spend many more years in the NBA… and everything that the League entails beyond the track, the match. So anonymous executives, in the articles that are already swarming in the American press, speak of the vertigo of investing so much money and so many years. Not in Kyrie’s talent… but in his circumstances. A franchise, in situations like this, can end up as a hostage. If it isn’t already. Because perhaps the question (that of the 247 million, in this case) is not so much what are you going to do in the offices of the Nets but, after their radical bet of the last two seasons and with the eyes of Kevin Durant fixed on them, what can they really do. It’s that complicated.

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