Nets GM not ready to commit to Kyrie Irving long term: ‘We need people here that want to be here’

Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks said on Wednesday the franchise has not made a decision on whether to extend guard Kyrie Irving’s contract, should he opt out of his player option for the 2022-23 season and seek a long-term extension. Marks emphasized that he made a mistake predicting last year they would agree to a long-term deal with Irving and James Harden, which did not happen.

“That’s something we’ve been discussing and we’ll continue to debrief on and discuss throughout this offseason… we have not had any of those discussions yet,” Marks said. “We’re looking for guys that want to come in here and be part of something bigger than themselves, play selfless, play team basketball, and be available. That goes not only for Kyrie but everybody here. “

Marks, in a news conference, said “it’s obvious” Irving’s absence for much of last season played a role in how Brooklyn fared. Irving missed every Nets home game until March 27 due to his COVID-19 vaccination status.

Brooklyn finished seventh in the Eastern Conference and was swept in the opening round of the NBA playoffs against the Celtics.

Irving averaged 27.4 points, 5.8 assists and 4.4 rebounds in 29 games this season.

Marks also mentioned that Nets guard / forward Ben Simmons had a follow-up MRI after the back soreness returned before Game 4 and it revealed the herniation had expanded, which made surgery the only option.

“We’re gonna be doing everything we possibly can to get him around our group. That’s the key,” Marks said. “He needs to be in here, smell the gym again, around his friends, around his family and participate in this and let us help him build the culture together, build up together, build him back up because as Steve (Nash) alluded to , he is a big, big part of this. ”

(Photo: Wendell Cruz / USA TODAY)

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