With the vaccine mandate having been lifted, star guard Kyrie Irving indicated he intends to remain teammates with Kevin Durant and stay with the Nets, via Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News.
Irving can opt out of his $36.6 million player option and sign a five-year, $246 million maximum contract. He could also exercise the option and sign a four-year extension worth $190 million, Bondy added.
“It has always been about being comfortable, loving where I’m at, and I love it here,” Irving said. “Once that summertime hits, I know we’ll have some conversations. But there’s no way I can leave my man No. 7 [Durant] anywhere.
“And as we build, as you see me playing with some guys I’ve had some relationships with in the past, and this is the recipe for success — when you have guys that you’ve known for a while, young guys that are willing to listen, and then a front office that’s willing to do what’s necessary in order to build this thing for the long run. So that’s the mindset. And that’s where I’m at.”
Irving has maintained he has no intentions of receiving the vaccination against COVID-19. But with the New York City mandate lifted for athletes and performers, he will no longer need the vaccine to play in home games or road games against the Knicks.
“I signed up for this for the long run,” Irving said. “So I love this year. I’m grateful. It hasn’t been a prototypical year. But when I look at my teammates and where we are as an organization, I’m looking for the long run and what we can do for legacy talk. We can talk again — judge my performance, judge everybody else’s performance, judge the league. But for me, and I know our team sentiment here and have something sustainable. Not just put this together real quick and see what happens.”
Along with Durant and Irving on a full-time basis, the Nets are hopeful newcomer Ben Simmons will be healthy enough to play for a playoff run. Simmons was acquired as part of the James Harden trade with the 76ers and has yet to appear in a game this season.
Looking for the latest NBA Insider News & Rumors?
Be sure to follow Hoops Wire on TWITTER and FACEBOOK for breaking NBA News and Rumors for all 32 teams!