Brooklyn Nets’ Kyrie Irving: Gave up 4-year, $100M-plus extension to be unvaccinated

Irving Kyrie, the guard for the Brooklyn Nets, says he made the decision not to get vaccinated against COVID-19 because he wants to extend his contract by four years prior to the 2021-22 season.

During Nets media day on Monday, Irving expressed, “and in dealing with the real-life circumstances surrounding my job loss, whether you’re going to be on this team, whether you’re going to be in this league, the level of uncertainty regarding your future, and the choice to be unvaccinated or vaccinated, this contract is what you’ll receive” [Obtain this]. Irving added, “I was given a million-something and a four-year commitment for this decision.”

The 30-year-old player said his decision to get vaccinated felt like an “ultimatum” from the organization. Prior to the season, he chose to exercise his $36.5 million player option for the final year of his contract. However, due to a New York City mandate, he was forced to miss home games in Brooklyn until late March because he is not vaccinated against COVID-19.

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Irving expressed optimism that he would finalize the terms of the contract before the previous season.

“Honestly, it was tough to swallow the pill. I had just come to the point of understanding their perspective, so it didn’t happen just because of my unvaccinated status, and it didn’t happen just because of my vaccinated status either,” said Irving. “We were supposed to have all figured that out before last year’s training camp.”

Sean Marks, the General Manager of the Nets, objected to the notion that Irving was given an “ultimatum” regarding his contract in his position.

Marks stated, “In this situation, there are no ultimatums being given.” “Here, we have trustworthy individuals who are present, responsible, and genuinely interested in your well-being.” This includes coaches, players, and staff members – all of us. It is not someone’s place to impose an ultimatum regarding getting vaccinated. It is entirely a personal decision. If Kyrie chooses to take a stand, it is his own prerogative.

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Marks acknowledged that it was ultimately New York City’s vaccination mandate, coupled with Irving’s anti-vaccination decision, that stalled conversations about the future.

Marks stated, “That occurrence never occurred.” ‘Here’s the agreement, now retract it,’ that failed to reach [a specific stage]. Therefore, negotiations for the contract halted when we comprehended the impact it would have on [Irving] playing home games and similar matters, subsequent to the implementation of vaccine mandates. “Therefore, once the vaccine mandates were enforced, and we understood the consequences for [Irving] playing home games and similar matters, that’s when contract negotiations came to a standstill. Thus, two summers ago, this transpired before the implementation of mandates that applied citywide and statewide.”

Marks expressed his confidence that Irving is fully dedicated to being a Net in the future, despite the breakdown of contract negotiations this summer.

“We’re happy to support him in any way possible throughout the season to ensure that he’s ready and healthy. We understand that he wants to show his commitment and rightfully get what he deserves as a free agent. I’m listening to the press conference this morning and my takeaway from that is he’s committed. At the end of the day, we’re happy that Kyrie is back here.”

“Irving’s decision not to receive the vaccine became a negative reputation within my profession, which was comprehended by the organization he was part of.”

Irving stated, “I was going to be bigger than myself, standing up for something that was important. It wasn’t just about being the voice of the voiceless, but also about expressing my intentions. I will speak up here, stating that I don’t want to play if it means being willing to be voiceless. I didn’t realize how much I would appreciate and respect being vaccinated, and the sudden stigma that came within my career. I understood all the points made by the Nets.”

I am now experiencing the support of my teammates, as they are giving me the support I need. They truthfully answered all the questions I had. There was a level of uncertainty about what this situation would bring me, resembling a reflection of my past experiences. I was trying to comprehend and anticipate what lies ahead in the future.

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As the Nets move forward, Irving’s destiny within the team remains uncertain as standout forward Kevin Durant publicly addressed his own eventful summer. He expressed a desire for a trade, called for Marks and coach Steve Nash to be dismissed, and eventually opted to remain with the team.

Durant expressed, “We were building something towards the future – I felt like another year of us being healthy. Last summer, I was committed to this organization for four years, knowing that I would be playing with that group who went to the second round of the 2020 playoffs. There was a lot of uncertainty around our team last year.” Durant added.

I have had some doubts in my mind about my career in the next four years, which is mainly due to the uncertainty and lot of injuries. I have seen what happened with our lineup, both when guys were out and when they were in. Then, as the season went on, I witnessed the season as it unfolded. I want to be in a stable place and strive to build a championship culture. As I am getting older, I mean, it is natural to have some doubts. So, I voiced my concerns to Joe Tsai, the owner, and we moved forward from there.

Durant expressed that he was not “disappointed” or taken aback by the fact that he was still located in Brooklyn.

Durant expressed, “I am aware of my identity.” He further acknowledged, “Hence, that is something I truly valued about Sean and Joe [they stated]. ‘You’re exceedingly exceptional for us to surrender you.’ It was as effortless and uncomplicated as that. I am confident in my abilities to the extent that you won’t simply dispose of me. No, I comprehend that.”

My job is to be a player, and he can only control his own place within the organization, saying what he perceives as straight record, Durant also wanted to set.

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Durant stated, “I consistently conveyed that message. I consistently informed Sean and Kyrie that they need to cultivate their bond in a manner that aligns with their unique personalities and perspectives. Each player is distinct, so it’s essential to tailor your approach accordingly.” “I am not the intermediary between Kyrie and the organization.”

Durant stated that the Nets could have fought harder through the stretch of the last season, despite facing adversity, when he was out with an injury.

Luka Doncic, who won and fought games for his team, was hurt. He was injured and still fought to take his team into the playoffs, just like Steph Curry and the Warriors have done. I felt like we could have fought through a lot of stuff and held our ground. I was more worried about how we’re approaching each day as a basketball team. Regardless of who’s on the floor, I don’t want us to lose games like we’ve lost eleven in a row, as he said.

So, I wanted to be a part of that. They did those things and have been right on the brink of winning a championship. I’ve been on teams that have been on the brink of winning a championship. I’ve been on teams that have been on the brink of winning a championship. I’ve been on teams that have been on the brink of winning a championship. Can we keep pushing through when we hit adversity? That’s what was most on my mind and I felt like we had enough talent to do it.

I value both the experience of winning and losing. I have been a part of the league for quite some time. However, it’s not solely about the outcome. The process of reaching that point is equally important. The emotions we were experiencing while striving for that goal were not something I openly shared. I chose to wait until the offseason to express how I truly felt. I didn’t want the outcome of the game to have a negative impact on me.

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