Report: Nets bench Kyrie Irving while listening to trade offers

The Brooklyn Nets will keep disgruntled guard Kyrie Irving on the bench until they can work out a trade for him before Thursday’s deadline, Bleacher Report said Sunday.

Reports Friday said Irving had requested a trade, and he didn’t play Saturday night in Brooklyn’s 125-123 win against the Washington Wizards. The team listed calf soreness on the injury report as the reason for his absence.

The Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns, and the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers all are believed to have an interest in acquiring Irving, an eight-time All-Star who teamed with LeBron James to bring an NBA title to Cleveland with the Cavaliers in 2016.

The Nets signed Irving on July 6, 2019, to a four-year deal, hoping he and Kevin Durant could deliver an NBA championship to Brooklyn. But in the 278 regular-season games the Nets have played since his acquisition, Irving has played in just 143 of them because of injuries, suspensions and his decision not to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

If Irving, 30, has played his final game with the Nets, he leaves with averages of 27.1 points, 4.8 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game. He was named to two All-Star teams while playing with the Nets — 2020-21 and this season.

Irving is in the final year of his contract and is seeking an extension that is in the neighborhood of four years, $198.5 million, ESPN reported. That extension would be available to him until June 30 with the Nets, but if he does in fact get traded, he could sign a two-year extension worth $78.6 million with his new team.

Now in his 12th NBA season, Irving was the No. 1 pick of the 2011 NBA Draft by the Cavaliers, and he played in Cleveland until joining the Boston Celtics for two seasons in 2017.

The Nets host the Clippers on Monday night and the Suns on Tuesday night in their final games before the trade deadline.