100s of titles, one news app for just $10 a month.
Dive Deeper:
NBA Playoffs Picks: Can the 76ers and Mavericks stave off elimination at home?
It's win or go home for the 76ers and Mavericks.
‘Not good enough’: Miami Heat scorch punchless Sixers to reach NBA’s last four
Jimmy Butler scored 32 points to send the Heat into the Eastern Conference finals with a 99-90 victory over the…
LAYUP LINES: Having NBA players vote for the league MVP would be a disaster
The players are not going to solve the MVP problem.
Miami sharpshooter Max Strus is the under-the-radar, breakout star of the postseason
Welcome to Layup Lines, our daily NBA newsletter where we'll prep you for a tip-off of tonight's action, from what…
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Joel Embiid: ‘Everybody expected the Houston James Harden, but that’s not who he is anymore’
Michael Scotto: Joel Embiid on James Harden: "Obviously, I'm sure since we got him, everybody expected the Houston James Harden,…
Jayson Tatum had his superstar moment with 46-point masterclass to save Celtics season vs. Bucks
Jayson Tatum, take a bow, sir.
Get all your news in one place
Latest Sport news:
Chelsea FC XI vs Leicester: Predicted starting lineup, confirmed team news and injury latest for game today
Today’s penultimate Premier League game of Chelsea’s season could see Thomas Tuchel face Leicester without Andreas Christensen after his withdrawal…
Read news from The Economist, FT, Bloomberg and more, with one subscription
Learn More
Charlie Savage pens new Manchester United contract after making senior debut
Charlie Savage has signed a new long-term contract at Manchester United.
‘I Fit Right In’: How the Heat Found a Gem in Max Strus
The sharpshooter has been a key factor in Miami's success on the road to the NBA Finals.
Kawasaki Teases First Electric Bike With A June 2022 Launch Date
Kawasaki dropped its first official teaser for its first electric bike, with a planned launch in June, 2022. The bike…
Sicard to start in FIA sporting director role at Monaco GP
New FIA single-seater sporting director Francois Sicard will begin his new role over the Formula 1 Monaco GP weekend.
From analysis to good news, read the world’s best news in one place
Haas expects no "pain" from two-month wait for F1 updates
Haas Formula 1 boss Gunther Steiner is not concerned about rivals making steps with upgrades at the Spanish GP while…
Steiner doesn't expect "pain" from Haas holding F1 updates for France
Haas Formula 1 boss Gunther Steiner is not concerned about rivals making steps with upgrades at the Spanish GP while…

LAYUP LINES: Kyrie Irving may have lost himself a lot of money last season

By Mike D. Sykes, II

Welcome to Layup Lines, our daily NBA newsletter where we’ll prep you for a tip-off of tonight’s action, from what to watch to bets to make. Subscribe here to get it delivered to your inbox every afternoon.

What’s good, family. It’s your boy Sykes here to usher you into tonight’s playoff action once again. But before we get into that, a word on Kyrie Irving.

The Brooklyn Nets point guard may have lost himself a lot of money with his elongated absence this season.

fObviously, we didn’t see Irving for most of the season behind his vaccination stance. Irving refused to follow New York City’s vaccine mandate which made him ineligible to play at home games for, pretty much, the entire year.

Initially, the Nets chose to keep him inactive. Then, eventually, he became a part-time player after COVID-19’s Omicron variant ravaged Brooklyn’s roster. It wasn’t until the end of the year that he was able to finally play in home games for the Nets. In total, he played in 29 games this season out of 82. And, clearly, that had an impact on the Nets’ chemistry coming into the playoffs.

That’s a big part of the reason why the Nets are so afraid to commit to Irving long-term. Sean Marks, the Nets GM, told the media that the team isn’t yet ready to sign their point guard to a long-term extension.

Irving has a $37 million player option for next season in Brooklyn. He’ll probably be back with them next year. But after that? It’s a toss-up. Marks said the team needs “people here that want to be here,” and that seems to be a question with Irving.

That’s also part of the reason why Nike is reportedly thinking about cutting Irving’s signature shoe line as well. They still want him around, but just not as one of their stars who stand front and center.

Mostly because, well, he’s just never available.

It’s not even just last season. In total throughout the last 3 years, Irving has played 103 total games out of 226 through 3 years with the Nets. In his first season, he was hurt. And that’s not something anyone can control.

During the 2020-21 season in Brooklyn he took a mid-season break while violating the league’s health and safety protocols. He missed most of his third season because of a personal choice to be unvaccinated.

He’s making personal choices for himself and that’s totally fine. He should absolutely do that. But, clearly, those choices are coming at a cost.

And, right now, that cost appears to potentially be significant.

The Tip-Off

Some NBA goodness from around the USA TODAY Sports network.

Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

James Harden gave us a Ben Simmons-esque offensive performance during a win-or-go-home Game 6 against the Miami Heat on Thursday. He only shot the ball twice in the second half. The only difference is he was awful defensively, too. So bad that he should probably burn the game tape.

I just don’t know how Philly can give him a max deal at this point. Our Bryan Kalbrosky has more:

“Harden finished the game with just 11 points (including none in the second half) and 4 turnovers. ESPN’s Tim Legler offered a breakdown of the poor possessions, and — oh boy — it’s nightmarish for Harden. The guard will have a contract negotiation coming up, and it’d be best if no one saw this.” 

Yikes, man. These are trying times in Philadelphia.

One to Watch

(All odds via Tipico.)

Bucks (-1.5, -120) vs. Celtics +100, O/U 211.5, 7:30 PM ET

(AP Photo/Steven Senne)

This series honestly feels like the NBA Finals. It’s an absolute slugfest. We’ve had incredibly close comebacks night after night after night and, honestly, I have no idea who to pick in this one.

But one thing has been clear: Giannis Antetokounmpo is the best player on the floor. And when he wants something done? He gets it done. So I’m not picking against Milwaukee at home tonight. Bucks -1.5 is the way to go.

Who’s in and out?

Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

—Robert Williams (knee) is questionable for Friday night’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks.

—Otto Porter Jr. (foot) is questionable for Friday night’s game against the Grizzlies.

Shootaround

Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

— Jimmy Butler is still mad that the 76ers didn’t bring him back and he called them out for it after eliminating them from the playoffs.

— Magic Johnson might really be a master Twitter troll because this is too coincidental.

— Everyone thinks the Lakers should trade LeBron James these days. That includes Phil Jackson.

— Joel Embiid is just as confused as the rest of us on how the 76ers let Jimmy Butler slip away. 

Gannett may earn revenue from Tipico for audience referrals to betting services. Tipico has no influence over nor are any such revenues in any way dependent on or linked to the newsrooms or news coverage. See Tipico.com for Terms and Conditions. 21+ only. Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER (NJ), 1-800-522-4700 (CO), 1-800-BETS-OFF (IA).

What is inkl?
The world’s most important news, from 100+ trusted global sources, in one place.
Morning Edition
Your daily
news overview

Morning Edition ensures you start your day well informed.

No paywalls, no clickbait, no ads
Enjoy beautiful reading

Content is only half the story. The world's best news experience is free from distraction: ad-free, clickbait-free, and beautifully designed.

Expert Curation
The news you need to know

Stories are ranked by proprietary algorithms based on importance and curated by real news journalists to ensure that you receive the most important stories as they break.

Dive Deeper:
NBA Playoffs Picks: Can the 76ers and Mavericks stave off elimination at home?
It's win or go home for the 76ers and Mavericks.
‘Not good enough’: Miami Heat scorch punchless Sixers to reach NBA’s last four
Jimmy Butler scored 32 points to send the Heat into the Eastern Conference finals with a 99-90 victory over the…
LAYUP LINES: Having NBA players vote for the league MVP would be a disaster
The players are not going to solve the MVP problem.
Miami sharpshooter Max Strus is the under-the-radar, breakout star of the postseason
Welcome to Layup Lines, our daily NBA newsletter where we'll prep you for a tip-off of tonight's action, from what…
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Joel Embiid: ‘Everybody expected the Houston James Harden, but that’s not who he is anymore’
Michael Scotto: Joel Embiid on James Harden: "Obviously, I'm sure since we got him, everybody expected the Houston James Harden,…
Jayson Tatum had his superstar moment with 46-point masterclass to save Celtics season vs. Bucks
Jayson Tatum, take a bow, sir.
Get all your news in one place