A day after the Brooklyn Nets announced that Kyrie Irving won’t play in any games as long as he’s in violation of New York City’s vaccine requirement, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reports that the team won’t offer him a $186 million contract extension that he’s eligible to sign.
Charania reported the Nets stance on “The Glue Guys” podcast on Wednesday.
“Clearly at the end of the day, that is not something they felt like they wanted to do,” Charania said of Brooklyn’s option to play Irving on road games this season where he would be eligible regardless of his vaccine status. “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.”
The $16 million figure refers to the salary Irving would lose if he remains in violation of New York’s vaccine protocols for the entire season. Irving has a $36.5 million player option on his contract next season. If he opts out and doesn’t sign an extension with the Nets, he’ll become a free agent.
A lot can and most assuredly will change between now and then. But if he maintains his vaccine stance and further deteriorates his relationship with the Nets, he’s putting at risk more than $200 million that would otherwise be guaranteed. There’s no reason to believe that the Nets wouldn’t offer Irving the extension under normal circumstances.
Prior to Tuesday, it was believed that the Nets would consider playing Irving part-time if he continued to maintain the vaccine status that prohibits him from playing home games per New York’s requirement of proof of at least one dose of a vaccine for entry to large indoor gatherings. General manager Sean Marks made clear in a statement that a part-time scenario is not an option for Irving.
“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,” Marks said, reading from a prepared statement. “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.”
The Nets’ stance puts Irving’s status as an active member of the team and his future earning power completely in his control.