On July 7, 2019, Kyrie Irving signed with the Brooklyn Nets as a free agent after expressing he wanted to leave his now previous team, the Cleveland Cavaliers. Irving’s contract guaranteed him 136,490,600 dollars over the course of four years, with an average annual salary of 34,122,650 dollars.
It’s no wonder the team signed him with this kind of money on the table, he’s a seven time all-star and the second best point guard in the entire league, arguably being one of the best to ever play the game.
Irving’s base income in the 2021-2022 season is almost 35 million dollars, meaning that’s the least amount of money he will definitely make according to contract, with an incentive bonus of 412,500 dollars. He’s set to have an income cap hit of 35,328,700 and a dead cap value of 34,916,200 dollars.
By 2022-2023, his base will be around 36,500,000.
The initial trade undoubtably looked like a good call. Though since his signing to the Nets, he’s shown he’s not worth investment.
Irving has been known to be fond of conspiracy theories. In the past he’s claimed the world is flat and does not rotate around the sun. He’s said the Federal Reserve had a part in Kennedy’s death, and even that the CIA paid Jamaicans to kill Bob Marley. He recently started following an Instagram page that claims “secret societies” are implanting vaccines in a plot to connect Black people to a master computer for “a plan of Satan.”
It’s no surprise then that now he refuses to be vaccinated. Because of this he is not allowed to play or practice with his team. Irving has now been fined 17 times for violating covid protocols, losing almost a million dollars himself.
The NBA and NBA Players Association decided on a pay reduction of a player’s salary for each game missed by an unvaccinated player because of local vaccine mandates. Irving is set to lose abut $380,000 per game and maybe more than 15 million total. Despite this, Irving would still walk away with 19 million, without playing at all.
Irving has lost the Nets millions of dollars now because of his refusal to get vaccinated, still earning money even when he isn’t making money for the franchise in return. And if the insane amounts of money he’s losing the team as an investment wasn’t enough, the problems he could bring on the Nets in the future should be to get rid of him as soon as possible.
Kyrie Irving is dedicated to his beliefs over his job, over money, over public opinion, over science and over his team’s expectations and regulations. His fierce individualism is not necessarily a bad thing, and some could argue it’s admirable, but none of that is the point. The point is that Irving is a monetary investment who made a commitment.
Should he not be dependable, regardless if he is respectable, is what matters in his industry. If not because of his beliefs, the Nets need to let Kyrie go because he is weighing them down. Not so much in popularity, but in the money he is costing them. He is no longer profitable in the way they predicted, and the Nets are now paying him more than what he is worth. He needs to be traded.