Report: Nets ‘outright unwilling’ to offer Irving long-term extension

Kyrie Irving

Kyrie Irving, who is expected to turn down his $36.9 million player option this summer, might not like what the Brooklyn Nets have to say at the negotiating table. 

Last month, Irving made clear his intention of returning to the Nets under a max contract. However, Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News reported Wednesday that the Nets front office might not be ready to commit to the point guard long term, citing inconsistent availability. 

The seven-time NBA All-Star has played a total of 103 games for the Nets over three seasons, missing considerable time due to injuries, his vaccination status and “personal reasons.”

Irving is eligible for either a four-year, $190 million contract (which puts him on par with teammate Kevin Durant) or a five-year, $245 million max contract, should Brooklyn choose to offer either option. 

While reports up until this point have indicated that both parties are interested in continuing the relationship, the Nets are supposedly “outright unwilling to give him a long-term extension.” This could likely upset Irving, a player known for being notably unpredictable and self-assured throughout his career. 

Irving spent the first five years of his career in Cleveland, winning an NBA championship in 2016, before requesting a trade in hopes of becoming more of a “focal point” after playing in LeBron James’ shadow. He landed in Boston with expectations of being the next legend of the storied Celtics franchise. However, his two years with the Celtics proved disappointing, marked by a season-ending injury, an early postseason exit and reported tension within the locker room. 


In the three years since leaving Boston, the split between Irving and the Celtics fan base has grown particularly acrimonious, as demonstrated by the “Kyrie sucks” chants that echoed throughout TD Garden during the Nets-Celtics first round playoff series this year. Irving was not one to take it lying down, responding by flipping off the crowd, landing himself a $50,000 fine by the NBA. 

Many of these same issues have continued to plague Irving’s availability in Brooklyn. He debuted with 50 points, becoming the first player in league history to do so, but was quickly sidelined due to a nagging shoulder injury that ultimately required surgery, appearing in only 29 games in the 2019-20 season. He then missed 10 games the following season due to “personal reasons,” with some reports suggesting his absence was in response to the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. 

Irving’s frequent absences finally came to a head this past season over his decision to not get vaccinated, placing him in violation of New York City’s vaccine mandate. 

He missed nearly the entire first half of the regular season, before eventually being activated in early January as a part-time player available for away games. He did eventually make his season debut at Barclays Center on March 27 with two weeks remaining in the regular season. Irving appeared in a total of 33 games this past season as the Nets qualified for the playoffs through the play-in tournament and were swept by the Celtics in the first round. 

Irving’s contract negotiations could have a ripple effect throughout the Nets roster. He and Durant are known to have a good relationship and multiple sources report that Durant hasn’t spoken with team management since the team’s exit from the playoffs.