With just days to go until the opening night of the 2021-22 season, the future availability of Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving remains unanswered.
The Nets will start their regular season in Milwaukee against defending champion Milwaukee Bucks with Irving at home.
The Nets’ immediate future will seemingly move forward without Irving, but what about the long term?
Go back to early August and Nets general manager Sean Marks said he was “confident” the franchise would sign both Irving and James Harden for extensions by the time training camp begins.
Now back to the present day, and Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that the Nets are no longer putting the extension offer on the table. A potential maximum extension would be worth $ 187 million over four years for the 29-year-old guard.
Unable to play at home for the Nets due to New York City’s vaccination mandate, Irving is expected to lose $ 381,181 per game, which will add up quickly if the stalemate persists. It should be noted that he would be paid for scheduled road 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 $ 36 million player option for the 2022-23 season.
Running well above the ceiling, the Nets would be hesitant to lose Irving in free agency for any return, but aside from the current absence, Irving has suffered a number of injuries in recent seasons, most notably to the knees.
Seeing the ground in just 74 regular season games over the past two seasons, the goalie has appeared in more than 70 games in a single season since 2015.
Well and truly locked in its championship window, the franchise can reasonably make the decision that a multi-year extension is not in the franchise’s best interest in the future. If they come to that 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 not critical. While they would obviously love to have Irving on the pitch alongside James Harden and Kevin Durant, the team are arguably still the favorites to come out of the Eastern Conference and eventually win the title.
The playoffs are six months away, giving both sides more than enough time to find a solution, but given the current uncertainty, taking an extension offer off the table makes the most sense.