NEW YORK —It may be necessary to show the If he wants to be a part of the future, he is more than just a great basketball player.
Sean Marks, the general manager of Irving, stated Wednesday that Irving would have to show that he is available to his team even if he was not there this season.
Marks indicated that Irving had missed nearly all of the Nets home games this season because he refused coronavirus vaccinations. Discussions about a potential contract extension will also need to consider Irving's dedication to the game, unless he is hurt.
Marks stated that he believes there will be discussions. “It is a team sport. You need everybody on the court.”
The Nets had never seen that in a disappointing season, which saw a favourite for the NBA championship finish seventh in Eastern Conference and be swept away by the Nets.In the first round.
They started the season without Irving and decided they didn't want him as a part-time player. They finally brought him back in December to only play road games – a decision Marks would not second-guess. Irving was unable to travel to New York City because the city mandated that Irving be immunized to perform in public places.
One exception to his mandate allowed him to play in all of March's games, but the Nets were still struggling to climb out of a deep hole and required him to play in a game to make it to the playoffs.
Irving is eligible for a summer extension and stated that he still sees himself in Brooklyn.Last summer, he signed an extension.
Marks claimed that Irving has not been in contract talks yet but that the Nets are aware of what they are seeking.
Marks stated that he is looking for “guys who are willing to join us and be part in something bigger than themselves,” and play selfless, team basketball, and be available. “And this goes not just for Kyrie, but for everyone here.”
Irving still has an option to earn almost $37 million next year, but he could also seek an extension that would give him $185 million over four more years. Irving's average score of 27.4 last season would have placed him eighth in the league.
He played in 29 games during the second consecutive season, which was his only time missing games because he was not hurt. Irving missed nine games because of personal reasons and took a leave from the team for the 2021-22 seasons.
Marks said that Irving's absences have put extra pressure on Durant. He suggested that the Nets must have deep conversations after this season, and also about their players' intentions. Irving did not specify the reason he didn't get vaccinated. However, he said that it was a personal decision.
What drives them? Is it their desire to be part? Is it something they are motivated by that might not be good for the team? Marks said. “So those are the questions we're going have to ask ourselves, and also the players we want to bring back here.”
Marks shared good news aboutAccording to Simmons, he is already feeling better following back surgery last Wednesday to relieve pain from herniated disk. Simmons has never played for the Nets, since the acquisition of the former No. 2 pick from Philadelphia in February.
The Nets will have Durant and Irving as potential stars, while Simmons would be a solid addition to their roster. Marks did not commit to Irving being part the future of the Nets, but he also noted that Irving has his own choices to make.
Durant has not spoken to him about Irving's feelings regarding a long-term partnership. Both are close friends, who arrived in Brooklyn together in 2019.
Marks indicated that he hopes to talk with Durant and Joe Tsai about any possible free agents at some point.
Marks explained that he meant more often than not that it was me who made those decisions. He didn't go to Kevin to say, ‘Do I want this person?' Is that the person you desire? Is that the guy you are looking for? Kevin is not fair, I think.
“Is he surprised at anything?” He will be able to tell the whole roster what we are doing and what we intend on doing.