Kyrie Irving is currently suspended, as the Brooklyn Nets sidelined him for a minimum of five games due to his repeated refusal to disavow antisemitism. Irving is in the final year of his contract and is almost certainly done in Brooklyn. The question now is, will another NBA team give him a contract as a free agent this offseason? The answer is complicated.
Irving is currently on the outs because he posted a link to a film that contained antisemitic tropes. After an exhaustive saga, he finally apologized after being suspended. That wasn't the first controversy the 30-year-old has found himself embroiled in.
During the 2020-21 season, Irving took several breaks from the Nets for "personal issues." While many said that if the breaks were due to mental health issues, Irving should have been supported, it also made him a less-than-reliable piece on a championship contending Nets team. Then during the 2021-22 season, Irving refused to get the COVID-19 vaccine, which meant he couldn't play in New York. He wound up playing only 29 regular season games. Now he's been suspended for offensive remarks.
Irving is currently in his fourth season with the Nets and he has played 20, 54, 29 and eight games in those campaigns. He's been injured, taken leave from the team and gotten himself sidelined due to his beliefs. And all of that has happened while taking up a max contract slot on the roster.
So what NBA team would want to import this headache? Well, Irving is phenomenally talented so, yes, someone will take a chance on him and pray he cleans up his act.
During his four seasons in Brooklyn, Irving has averaged 27.1 points, 5.9 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 1.4 steals in 35.5 minutes per game. He has shot 39.4 percent from 3-point range, 48.7 percent from the field and 92.0 percent from the free throw line. Again, he's an elite guard.
I'd love to tell you Irving's transgressions will end his career, but that would be wildly naïve. As long as he has talent, he'll have on-court value to an NBA franchise. While he won't get a max contract this offseason, someone will likely throw a one-year deal at a decent salary as a "prove-it" contract.
What Irving does with that opportunity is up to him.