As the “Brooklyn Nets” basketball player explained to the media at the beginning of the meeting, the refusal of vaccination prevented the full extension of the contract. “I turned down a four-year, $100 million or more contract to stay unvaccinated. It was my choice.”
Irving was unable to play home games for the Nets last NBA season until New York’s vaccination requirement was lifted in March. The 30-year-old has also missed several away games due to his vaccination status. The extension of the contract was supposed to be in the summer of 2021, but on the condition that he was vaccinated. “It was like an ultimatum. “I understand the club’s point of view, but it was a hard pill for me to swallow,” Irving said. “I had to deal with losing my job for this decision.”
Nets general manager Sean Marks denied the ultimatum. “You want reliable and responsible people here. It affects all of us, the staff, the coaches, the players,” Marks explained. When it became clear that Irving would miss many games without vaccination, the contract negotiations reached an impasse.
Irving, who admitted that the vaccination decision had a negative impact on his image, will receive $36.5 million for the upcoming season and then can find a new club as a “free agent.” The point guard played in 29 games last season and averaged 27.4 points.