On Sunday, NYC Mayor Eric Adams said the city’s vaccine mandate could be lifted as soon as March 7.
But Kyrie Irving is technically employed by a private business, meaning he can practice with the team and sit on the bench at home games — but still can’t play.
Irving is immensely valuable when he’s actually on the floor. The question is not only whether he’ll ever play on a full-time basis this season — but whether Brooklyn should invest in him long-term.
From Brooklyn’s side, it’s justified to wonder if he’s earned the five-year, $235 million extension on the table this summer.
- Irving (25.1 PPG) has played a total of 98 games, including playoffs, in three seasons with the Nets.
- He passed up a four-year, $181 million extension this past offseason.
- Irving ($35.1M) will lose roughly $16 million if he misses the rest of Brooklyn’s home games.
- If he decides to take his player option, he’ll make $36.6 million in 2022-23.
The Nets are championship-caliber with the seven-time All-Star — who dropped 38 on the Bucks on Saturday — but he’ll finish the 2021-22 season with a total of 22 games if he remains part-time.
Irving hasn’t been there when the Nets need him most: They’re 5-14 since Kevin Durant injured his knee on Jan. 15, dropping from the second to the eighth seed in the East.
Given his friendship with Durant, he’ll want to stay in Brooklyn next season, but does either side want to be locked in for five years?