ESPN: Kyrie Irving Unlikely to Get Similar Signature Shoe Contract from Nike in 2023May 13, 2022
Nike is reportedly "unlikely to extend" its signature shoe contract with Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving following the 2022-23 NBA season.
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne reported Nike is planning to release the final edition of its Kyrie edition shoes this fall but noted the future of the partnership, which began in 2014, is expected to "dramatically" change.
Irving caused a stir in July when he described the latest release of his signature shoe as "trash" and said he was no longer involved in the creative process:
He later issued a statement saying it was "unfair" to place the blame on Nike and work was being done "to make sure we get it right."
Wojnarowski and Shelburne reported that wasn't the only issue that led to Nike's decision, but it was a factor. The company wouldn't comment on its plans.
"We don't comment on contracts or rumors or speculation. Kyrie remains a Nike athlete," a spokesperson told ESPN.
Irving was limited to 29 appearances during the 2021-22 season because of his unvaccinated status. The Nets originally kept him sidelined until he was eligible to become a full-time player, but that changed in January as the team struggled with injuries and COVID-19 absences.
Upon his return, he was restricted to playing in road games because of New York City's vaccine mandate for large events, which was lifted in March.
That allowed Irving to become a full-time contributor in time for the playoffs, but the Nets were still swept in the first round by the Boston Celtics.
The seven-time All-Star holds a $36.9 million player option in his contract for next season. He would become a free agent if he declines it, but he's stated his desire to remain with Kevin Durant and Co.
If Irving simply plays out his option year, he could be looking at two key negotiations next year: his playing contract and his shoe deal.