Kyrie Irving’s refusal to get vaccinated is set to cost him.
In more ways than one.
With Irving already banned from practice and games by the Nets, NBA insider Shams Charania has now revealed that Brooklyn will not offer the star guard an extension.
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Irving is currently on a 4-year, $136 million deal in Brooklyn, and the belief, before the vaccine saga began, was that he would sign a $186 million ($A252m) extension to stay with the Nets.
“He was willing to sacrifice $16 million in salary this upcoming year (if he was only paid to play road games), and $186 million as far as an extension that he will not be offered now,” Charania said on The Glue Guys podcast.
The Nets are playing hardball with Irving, who makes up one third of the star trio in Brooklyn that looked like big favourites to win it all in their second year together.
He won’t play until he’s vaccinated. And Irving doesn’t seem to be changing his mind any time soon.
Irving has two years left on his contract, with the second year a player option — a situation that complicates things if he maintains his anti-vaccination stance, and the Nets can’t find a trade.
And while at an earlier stage a trade seemed like too big a move, that possibility is some seeming more than realistic.
According to Charania, Irving is the only Nets player yet to be vaccinated, with a “level of disconnect” between him and the playing group.
As for a trade, the question over what Irving might do next is likely what’s keeping some franchises from making a move. You can’t separate the player from his antics.
Nevertheless, in cities that don’t have vaccine mandates, Irving might represent a star available at a cost far cheaper than he’d usually go for.
“I think rival teams right now, feel like Brooklyn is at least open to hearing any types of significant offers,” Charania said. “I think everything is on the table at this point.”
Because of the ongoing pandemic, New York has implemented new health and safety regulations which do not allow unvaccinated athletes to take part in practices and games.
He could theoretically have played in road games without being vaccinated, but Sean Marks’ statement ruled that out.
“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.
“Kyrie has made a personal choice, and we respect his individual right to choose.
“Currently, his 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.”