Kyrie Irving Rumors: Nets 'Outright Unwilling' to Offer Star Contract Extension

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVMay 25, 2022

BROOKLYN, NY - APRIL 25: Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets smiles during Round 1 Game 4 of the 2022 NBA Playoffs on April 25, 2022 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

The Brooklyn Nets' 2021-22 season went anything but as expected, and the instability may not improve given the reported situation with Kyrie Irving.

Irving has a player option for the upcoming campaign before he potentially hits free agency the following summer, and Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News reported Brooklyn isn't jumping at the chance to give him a long-term extension.

Irving's "personal decision not to get vaccinated and unpredictable injury history have left the Nets hesitant, and now, according to a source familiar with the Nets' thought process, outright unwilling to give him a long-term extension," Winfield wrote.

A championship wasn't just realistic at the start of the 2021-22 season, it was expected. A trio of Kevin Durant, James Harden and Irving seemed impossible to stop, and there were enough proven role players on the roster to challenge anyone in the league.

And then the season started.

Irving was ineligible for home games for most of the season because he remained unvaccinated against COVID-19. The team initially kept him out for road games as well but eventually relented. He appeared in just 29 contests.

Durant dealt with injuries on his way to 55 games, Joe Harris was sidelined with injury and Harden was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers. Ben Simmons came over in the Harden deal, but he didn't play a game because of a back injury.

While the Nets escaped the play-in tournament with a win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, they were swept by the Boston Celtics in the first round.

General manager Sean Marks turned heads earlier this month when he said the team is "looking for guys that want to be a part of something bigger than themselves, play team basketball and be available" when asked whether Brooklyn was committed to Irving:      

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

"We're looking for guys that want to be a part of something bigger than themselves, play team basketball, and be available. That goes not only for Kyrie but everybody here."<br><br>Sean Marks on if the Nets are committed to Kyrie long-term.<br><br>(via <a href="https://twitter.com/SNYNets?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@SNYNets</a>)<a href="https://t.co/aOMnP6x6sX">pic.twitter.com/aOMnP6x6sX</a>

That wasn't a ringing endorsement, and the latest report suggests the seven-time All-Star's long-term future with the Nets may be limited.

For his part, Irving told reporters after the loss to Boston, "In terms of my extension, man, I don't really plan on going anywhere."

He added: "When I say I'm here with Kev, I think that it really entails us managing this franchise together alongside [governor] Joe [Tsai] and Sean and just our group of family members that we have in our organization. So it's not just about me and Kev, I don't want to make it just about that. We are cornerstones here, but we have Ben, we have a few other guys under contract."

Irving also stressed the need to "make some moves this offseason."

Turns out, one of those moves may not be giving him a contract extension.