Kyrie Irving out due to calf soreness after trade request, Nets fans boo him
Brooklyn HC Jacque Vaughn said he was unsure if Irving, who missed the team's walkthrough, would even attend the game
The sleep walk toward the NBA trade deadline was awakened into frenzy after Kyrie Irving asked for a trade from the Brooklyn Nets, according to multiple reports Friday.
One day later, the team announced that Irving would not play in Saturday's game against the Washington Wizards due to right calf soreness. When his image appeared on the jumbotron at Barclays Center, boos could be heard around the arena.
Nets fans started to boo when Kyrie Irving appeared on the jumbotron 👀
(via @SNYNets) pic.twitter.com/EIHCDZ0OC8
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) February 4, 2023
With the league's Feb. 9 trade deadline less than a week away, fans are in position to wonder if they've already seen the guard suit up for Brooklyn for the last time.
Irving reportedly missed the team's Saturday afternoon walkthrough, leaving head coach Jacque Vaughn unsure if he would attend the game at all. According to ESPN's Nick Friedell, the coach is unsure when Irving will be able to play again.
Not including the eight games Irving missed during his suspension for "failure to disavow antisemitism," Irving missed two games this season due to injury. This third injury rest comes after he was not initially listed on the team's first report Friday. The Nets' Ben Simmons also will miss his fourth straight game Saturday because of left knee soreness.
In the appearances Irving has made for the Nets this season, he is averaging 27.1 points, 5.3 assists and 5.1 rebounds per game.
Irving is in the final year of a deal that pays him $36.9 million. His agent and stepmother, Shetellia Irving, told Bleacher Report's Chris Haynes last week there had been no progress toward securing a lucrative long-term extension in Brooklyn. The 30-year-old is eligible to sign a two-year, $78.6 million extension with his new team until June 30, if traded.
Potential landing spots for Irving, options for the Nets
Star Kevin Durant asked Brooklyn for a trade seven months ago, presenting the team with an ultimatum to trade him or fire both then-head coach Steve Nash and general manager Sean Marks. Durant later rescinded his request and is under contract in Brooklyn until 2026. He has been out since the beginning of January with an MCL sprain, but would still be a top priority for many teams. Those teams now have space for hope that he could become available like Irving. This is something the Nets will have to consider for their future, according to Yahoo Sports' Vince Goodwill.
As for Irving's potential trade destinations, the Los Angeles Lakers, Phoenix Suns and Dallas Mavericks are reportedly interested, according The Athletic's Shams Charania. Meanwhile, the Suns are "one of the few teams capable of facilitating a deal," Bleacher Report's Chris Haynes reported. The Mavericks' front office has connections to Irving and was previously interested in Irving, ESPN's Wojnarowski and Tim MacMahon said.
It appears that teams are ready to move before the deadline, as the Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns are already expressing interest in discussing an Irving trade and the Dallas Mavericks are expected to do so soon, sources told ESPN on Friday.