has thrived since returning from his suspension earlier this season, but that doesn't mean his future with the is set in stone. Irving's agent and stepmother, Shetellia Riley Irving, told Bleacher Report's Chris Haynes that to sign a long-term max contract in Brooklyn. According to Marc Stein, however, there have been no substantive talks between the two sides yet, and some league observers believe the Nets are feeling no pressure to act quickly.

Irving is eligible for a four-year, $200 million extension any time between now and June 30. If he doesn't re-sign before then, he will become an unrestricted free agent in the offseason, but the Nets seem to believe they can be patient given the market conditions facing Irving.

While there will be teams with cap space this offseason, many of them would either seemingly be undesirable to Irving or would lack interest in him themselves. The team most frequently linked to Irving, the , just traded for and reportedly plans to re-sign him in the offseason. That would wipe away a big chunk of their cap space next summer, but even if they did maximize their space, they could only get to around $34 million in space. That's not close to what Brooklyn could pay Irving. In other words, if Irving wants to find a new team next summer, he'll need Brooklyn's help to do so via sign-and-trade.

More likely, there is a compromise that eventually keeps Irving in Brooklyn. For the time being, the Nets seem to be exerting their leverage to try to create conditions for a more favorable deal. Irving has hardly been a reliable player during his time in Brooklyn. He has been suspended for sharing an antisemitic documentary, missed most of a season due to his refusal to get vaccinated and disappeared from the team without explanation for a stretch in early 2021. This doesn't even factor in the myriad of injuries he's suffered during his career.

Irving is playing All-Star-caliber basketball right now. The Nets aren't re-signing him for right now. If they give him a long-term deal, he will be on their books for several seasons. The Nets have to trust that he will be healthy, available and non-controversial in that span if they are going to make a commitment to him that is anywhere near his max salary. For now, they appear content to wait things out and see if they can get a better deal.

Of course, if the Nets don't re-sign Irving, they will have to answer to . As Durant was playing at an MVP level before his injury and the team went to great lengths not to trade him last offseason, they would obviously prefer to keep Durant happy. In the end, there will likely be a compromise that is acceptable to both Irving and the Nets. However, with so much time left to negotiate, both sides seem to be starting on the extreme ends of the spectrum.