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Kyrie Irving vaccine stance could cost Brooklyn Nets star $200 million

Vincent Frank

The Brooklyn Nets have made it clear regarding star guard Kyrie Irving and his anti-vaccine stance. General manager Sean Marks noted earlier in the week that Irving will not play or practice with the team until he’s vaccinated for COVID-19.

That came on the heels of local New York City pandemic mandates being created to require proof of vaccine for individuals to attend large indoor events, including NBA games.

As for the 29-year old guard, his camp attempted to get out in front of it by leaking information to the media on Tuesday. That included the belief that Irving isn’t necessarily anti-vaccine. Rather, he’s against vaccine mandates and the fact that it’s costing people jobs. Regardless of our stance, Irving has an individual right to his beliefs. However, it could also end up costing Irving a ton of cash.

Related: Find out where Kyrie Irving ranks among NBA players

Brooklyn Nets will not offer Kyrie Irving max-level contract extension

Kyrie Irving contract
Jun 5, 2021; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving (11) reacts after making a basket against the Milwaukee Bucks during the second quarter of game one in the Eastern Conference semifinals of the 2021 NBA Playoffs at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

“Clearly at the end of the day, that is not something they felt like they wanted to do. He was willing to sacrifice, at the end of the day, $16 million dollars in salary this upcoming year and $186 million as far as an extension that he will not be offered now,” Shams Charania of The Athletic noted.

Talk about staying true to your beliefs despite the fact that it’s going to potentially cost north of $200 million. That’s an absolutely staggering figure. There’s also no reason to believe that Irving will change his tune, much like what we saw with Golden State Warriors star Andrew Wiggins.

As for the Nets, they are also staying true to their beliefs with the 2021-22 season slated to get going in a week.

“Kyrie has made a personal choice, and we respect his individual right to choose. Currently, the choice restricts his ability to be a full-time member of the team, and we will not permit any member of our team to participate with part-time availability,” Nets GM Sean Marks told reporters on Tuesday. “It is imperative that we continue to build chemistry as a team and remain true to our long-established values of togetherness and sacrifice.”

With the regular season now upon us, 96% of NBA players have received at least one shot of the vaccine. The only markets impacted by local mandates preventing players from playing home games is San Francisco and New York City. Depending on the nature of the COVID-19 pandemic moving forward this fall and into the winter, that number could increase.

Speaking of numbers, Kyrie Irving is coming off an historical 2020-21 campaign in which he joined the elite 50-40-90 club. That is to say, connecting on a high percentage of his field goals, three-point attempts and free throws.

Related: Updated NBA power rankings

As for the Nets, they enter the 2021-22 campaign as odds-on favorites to win the NBA title. That has not changed with Irving unlikely to play this season. The likes of James Harden and Kevin Durant could very well be enough for Brooklyn to unseat the Milwaukee Bucks as NBA champs. Time will tell on that front.

The Nets open their regular season next Tuesday against the aforementioned Bucks. Irving obviously won’t make an appearance. And in reality, it could be a $200 million decision from a guy that has earned north of $158 million throughout his career.