Nets Reportedly Won’t Offer Kyrie Irving $186 Million Extension Because Of Covid-19 Vaccine Holdout

By Adam Zagoria, Contributor
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 10: Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets reacts after he was given a double technical foul and ejected from the game in the third quarter against the Los Angeles Lakers at Barclays Center on April 10, 2021 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Brooklyn Nets already have Kevin Durant signed to an extension, and hope to do the same with James Harden.

Kyrie Irving, however, reportedly won’t be offered an $186-million extension due to his Covid-19 vaccine holdout. And he won’t be retiring, either.

Shams Charania of The Athletic reported the extension news 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 (via Yahoo) 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 Nets on Tuesday announced that Irving would be banned from practices and games until he can be a “full participant” — meaning either he gets the vaccine or New York City’s regulations change. As it stands, he will forfeit some $16 million in games missed, but will still be paid approximately $18 million for the games he plays.

Irving took to Instagram Wednesday night to say that he did not plan to retire and planned to return to the Nets at some point.

“Don’t believe that I’m retiring, don’t believe that I’m going to give up this game for a a vaccine mandate or staying unvaccinated,” he said. “Don’t believe any of that s—t, man. What would you do if you felt uncomfortable going into the season when you were promised that you would have exemptions or that you didn’t have to get the vaccine.”

Irving did not say whether he planned to get vaccinated.

“It’s reality that in order to be in New York City, in order to be on the team, I have to be vaccinated,” Irving said. “I chose to be unvaccinated and that was my choice and I ask y’all just to respect that choice. And I am just gonna continue to stay in shape, be ready to play, be ready to rock out with my teammates and just be part of this whole thing.

“This is not a political thing here, this is not about the NBA, this is not about any organization, this is about my life and what I’m choosing to do,” Irving continued.

Asked if the team is considering trading Irving, Nets GM Sean Marks said, “I don’t know that I want to address the hypotheticals of what may happen in the future. This is pretty raw, pretty fresh, we’ve got to let the dust settle.

“The hope is that we have Kyrie back. We would welcome him back with open arms but it would have to be under a different set of circumstances so we would have to wait and see how that transpires but in the meantime we need to focus on the 16 players that are going to be on this roster moving forward with us.”

Marks said in August he was “very confident” he would get Harden, Irving and Durant extended through the 2025-26 season before the start of camp.

Durant then signed a four-year, $198-million extension. He initially came to the Nets via free agency in 2019 along with his good buddy Irving.

Per the NY Post, Harden could re-sign for up to three years, $161.1 million, and Irving for four years and $181.6 million. (The extension is worth $186.6 million, but only $182 million is guaranteed.)

Irving also could receive a five-year, $235 million max deal in 2022 if he doesn’t sign an extension and opts out after the 2021-22 season. He still has a player option for 2022-23 for $36 million.

If the Nets don’t offer him an extension, they would be opting to move forward with a “Big 2” of Durant and Harden (assuming Harden signs an extension) instead of a “Big 3.”

“Kyrie believes in his beliefs and he stands firmly,” Harden told reporters Wednesday. “We respect it, we all love Ky. But we have a job to do, and individually myself, I’m still wanting to set myself up for a championship. The entire organization, is on the same path.”

This post was updated at 8:47 a.m on Oct. 14.

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