With the opening night of the 2021-22 season just days away, the future availability of Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving remains up in the air.
The Nets will begin their regular season in Milwaukee against defending champion Milwaukee Bucks with Irving at home.
The Nets’ immediate future will apparently move forward without Irving, but what about the long term?
Go back to early August and Nets general manager Sean Marks said he was “safe” the franchise would sign both Irving and James Harden with extensions early in training camp.
Now go back to the present day, and Shams Charania of Athletic has reported that the Nets are no longer putting the extension offer on the table. A possible maximum extension would be worth $ 187 million over four years for the 29-year-old guard.
Unable to play home games with the Nets due to New York City’s vaccination mandate, Irving will lose $ 381,181 per game, which will add up quickly if the stalemate continues. It should be noted that he would be paid for scheduled away games even if he is not with the team, as the franchise made the decision not to have him with the team.
According to Spotrac, the 7-time All-Star has a player option of $ 36 million for the 2022-23 season.
Operating well above the limit, the networks would be reluctant to lose Irving in free agency with no return, but aside from the current absence, Irving has suffered several injuries in recent seasons, mostly to the knees.
Seeing the court in just 74 regular-season games over the course of the past two seasons, the point guard has appeared in more than 70 games in just one season since 2015.
Well and truly locked into its championship window, the franchise can reasonably make the decision that a multi-year extension is not in the best interests of the franchise going forward. If they come to this conclusion, it could open up the possibility of a trade, although assessing the current market for Irving is a difficult task to undertake.
For Brooklyn, the situation is far from ideal, but hardly critical. While they would obviously love to have Irving on the court alongside James Harden and Kevin Durant, it can be said that the team is still the favorite to come out of the Eastern Conference and possibly win the title.
The postseason is six months away, giving both sides more than enough time to work out a solution, but given the current uncertainty, taking an extension offer off the table makes more sense.