NBA

Brooklyn Nets will no longer offer Kyrie Irving $186 million extension over vaccine conflict

May 6, 2021; Dallas, Texas, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) reacts during the third quarter against the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Just days after the Brooklyn Nets announced that Kyrie Irving wouldn’t play for the team this season until he was vaccinated. It has come to light that the team will no longer offer Irving the $186 million contract extension he is eligible to sign.

The Athletic’s Shams Charania confirmed the Nets stance about Irving playing in road games on “The Glue Guys” podcast.

“Clearly at the end of the day, that is not something they felt like they wanted to do. He was willing to sacrifice, at the end of the day, $16 million in salary this upcoming year. And $186 million as far as an extension that he will not be offered now.”

Shams Charania

The $16 million figure refers to the salary Kyrie Irving would be giving up were he to remain in violation of New York’s vaccine protocols for the whole 2021/22 season. Irving will become a free agent next season if he chooses to opt out of his $36.5 million player option and Brooklyn does not offer him an extension.

A lot will change between now and then, but Kyrie is putting $200 million of guaranteed money on the line. With all signs pointing to Brooklyn offering Irving the extension under normal conditions. The 29-year-old took to Instagram Live to speak publicly on his position for the first time.

“Don’t believe that I’m retiring. Don’t believe I’m gonna give up this game. If you choose to get a vaccine, I support you. If you choose not to get a vaccine, I support you. But don’t be judging what other people are doing with their lives. We should be accommodating everyone equally. But to demonize and judge and point the finger, think about what type of position that puts that person in.”

Kyrie Irving

Before this week, it appeared that the Brooklyn Nets would be open to the idea of playing Irving part-time. However, general manager Sean Marks’ statement made it clear that part-time was not an option.

“Given the evolving nature of the situation and after thorough deliberation, we have decided Kyrie Irving will not play or practice with the team until he is eligible to be a full participant. Kyrie has made a personal choice, and we respect his individual right to choose. Currently the choice restricts his ability to be a full-time member of the team. And we will not permit any member of our team to participate with part-time availability.”

Sean Marks

Brooklyn has put the ball firmly in Kyrie Irving’s court. And will be hoping he decides to change his stance sooner rather than later. The Brooklyn Nets have strong championship aspirations this season. Still, without Kyrie Irving on the active roster, it heaps increased pressure on the health & performance of Kevin Durant and James Harden.

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