One NBA expert believes that Brooklyn Nets superstar Kyrie Irving has done enough to prove he does not deserve a max contract extension from the team.
One of the big stories in the NBA over the next week will be watching to see if Kyrie Irving opts into the final year of his contract with the Nets. On Monday, reports suggested that conversations between the two sides on a max extension had stalled.
There are no doubts about the talents and abilities of Kyrie Irving. However, there are questions about if his mentality and physical health will allow the Nets to get the best bang for their buck over the duration of a new contract. ESPN NBA expert JJ Redick said as much on Tuesday during an appearance on the network’s “First Take” show.
JJ Redick explains why Brooklyn Nets can’t give Kyrie Irving a max deal
On the topic of Brooklyn offering Irving a max deal, the former Magic and Clippers talent made it clear how much he respects the 7-time All-Star and called him one of the three most entertaining players in the sport. However, he also took the time to make a courtroom-style argument for why Irving doesn’t deserve a max deal by explaining how unreliable he has been over his first three seasons in Brooklyn.
“Year one he played 20 games of 72. Year two he played 54 of 72. Last year he played 29. And in each season there were issues beyond just an injury,” Reddick explained. “The first season he didn’t want to play on that team unless Kevin Durant was healthy. Obviously, Kevin Durant sat out that season [removing from an Achilles tear]. No one could have predicted COVID and the effect that the social justice movement and then George Floyd’s killing would have on Kyrie personally, and he elected not to go to the bubble. I applaud his decision on that. The fact remains he played in 20 games that season.
“The next season, he took an 11-day personal absence and missed seven games. He only ended up playing 54. And of course, this season, because of the vaccine mandate, was unable to play for most of the year until that was lifted. So there’s a reliability question around Kyrie Irving as it relates to this point of his career,” he continued. “This is a guy who also previously had a number of injuries and really hadn’t played a full season his entire career. If you are the Brooklyn Nets front office, the Nets ownership, you have to plan years in advance, and giving Kyrie Irving a max extension knowing what you’ve seen over the last three years I don’t think that’s a great decision.”
To hammer home the point that extending Irving four more seasons at max money isn’t a smart move for the organization, he explained that such a decision would also send the wrong message. And it would be insane to expect the 30-year-old to become more reliable if they rewarded him with a new contract, given his track record.
“Given all the things I just talked about, what does it say to Kyrie Irving if you are the Brooklyn Nets front office and ownership and you are willing to give him a max extension?” Reddick asked. “What does that say about all the things I just talked about? That it was okay. You would have to be insane to think that these sorts of issues would not continue to pop up over the next four years … I don’t think he’s reliable enough to give him a max extension at this point in his career.”
- Kyrie Irving stats (2021-2022): 27.4 PPG, 4.4 REB, 5.8 AST, 1.4 STL
Kyrie Irving has until June 29 to must make a decision on if he wants to opt into the final year of his contract. If he does not, he would become an unrestricted free agent.