Nets star Kyrie Irving could sit out the rest of the season if not traded, a source told The Post.
And Brooklyn plans to keep him sidelined until a trade is finalized, according to reports. Despite what could be viewed as leverage plays by both sides and posturing about who is in charge, it could be a while until Irving is seen in a Nets uniform again. If ever.
While ESPN reported that Irving is set to sit out the final 32 games of what could be a championship season, a well-placed source familiar with the situation told The Post that the All-Star point guard has not yet made up his mind whether to take that nuclear option. But it is clearly being discussed.
“We haven’t decided yet,” said the source.
Irving demanded a trade on Friday, preferably before the 3 p.m. NBA trade deadline this coming Thursday. Even though a sign-and-trade could still be completed in the summer — as could Irving re-signing with Brooklyn in the offseason — that sounds less than likely after the latest threats.
“I’m told all of them [Mavericks, Suns, Lakers and Clippers] will pay [Irving],” Stephen A. Smith said on “NBA Countdown” on Saturday. “Now whether that’s a four-year guarantee or whatever, it remains to be seen. But they’d give him more than Brooklyn would give him… Kyrie Irving is prepared to sit out the rest of the season if need be. That’s what I’m being told.”
Meanwhile, TNT and Bleacher Report’s Chris Haynes reported that the Nets intend to keep Irving “sidelined until a trade is finalized ahead of the Feb. 9 deadline.”
The end result could end up the same if Irving is dealt by Thursday.
Irving — who is averaging 27.1 points, 5.3 assists, and 5.1 rebounds and earned a starting spot on the All-Star team later this month — played for the Nets in Wednesday’s loss in Boston, and sounded almost wistful about his former team.
Then, after the trade demand, he was scratched from Saturday’s game against Washington with what was listed as right calf soreness. Irving did not attend the game, but his image was shown on the overhead scoreboard. The star — who consistently gets the loudest cheers at Barclays Center, even louder than Kevin Durant — was roundly booed.