Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets are headed for talks on a contract extension, and as far as the Nets are concerned, Irving can forget about anything long term.
Not only are the Nets hesitant to offer Irving a long-term contract extension, they are outright unwilling to do so, a source told Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News.
Winfield cited Irving’s lengthy history of missing games, mostly because of injury, as major reason why the Nets would rather play it safe with an extension.
He also appeared in just 29 games this past season, taking a stand against vaccine mandates in New York. He initially was eligible to play in games outside of New York (with the exception of Toronto), but the Nets decided to hold him out entirely.
Eventually, they caved, as the majority of the vaccinated players tested positive for the coronavirus and entered health and safety protocols. After another month or so, Irving became eligible to also play in home games, as New York’s mandate was lifted.
Nets general manager spoke to the YES Network last week about the Irving contract situation, saying at the time, the sides had yet to talk. But Marks added they will.
“I look forward to [it],” Marks told YES Network last week, via the New York Post’s Brian Lewis. “We have not had a conversation yet. So I look forward to getting in a room with him and Joe and his team, and we will. We’ll see what it looks like for Kyrie moving forward here, and what he needs from us and so forth.
“So, again, it wouldn’t be right for me to comment on what hypothetical could happen, because we don’t know. We haven’t had those conversations with Kyrie yet. But when they do, we’ll see if it’s the right fit for both sides.”
The Nets were swept by the Boston Celtics in the first round of the playoffs this season.
Marks didn’t mention Irving by name, but hinted that it is all about being a team player. Agree with Irving’s vaccine stance or not, his ability to stay on the court has been a major question mark throughout his career.
“You want people here to be part of something bigger than themselves,” Marks said. “It’s a team sports team game. It’s not individuals. We want people to be here for the right reasons, and buy into their roles, find their roles, high-character guys.
“We want to avoid the drama, we want to avoid the distractions. These last couple years here, whether it was expectation set on the team or some of the outside circumstances that were going on in the world, they affected our guys — both individually and as a group — really poorly, unfortunately.”
Winfield wrote that “he Nets’ championship hopes hinge on an amicable solution with Irving, whose personal decision not to get vaccinated and unpredictable injury history have left the Nets hesitant, and now, according to a source familiar with the Nets’ thought process, outright unwilling to give him a long-term extension.”