After a wild 2022 offseason, the Brooklyn Nets are back for the 2022-23 season. With media day providing an unofficial start to the season, many were eager to hear what those around the Nets had to say as they gear up for the upcoming campaign.
Among the players everyone was excited to hear from was Kyrie Irving, who spent most of the offseason unsuccessfully trying to force his way to the Los Angeles Lakers. Irving decided to play out the final year of his contract with the Nets once he realized he wouldn’t be traded this off-season.
Irving believes being unvaccinated hurt him this offseason
Irving always seems to be in the news for something, and last season his decision to stay unvaccinated from COVID-19 kept him in the news even though Irving wasn’t even allowed to play for the Nets. While Irving eventually returned, he only ended up playing in just 29 games for Brooklyn last season.
Irving’s lack of availability was a concerning topic for Brooklyn all season long, and it may have indirectly allowed the Nets to hang onto Irving for one more season. Irving said he believes that his decision not to get vaccinated indirectly prevented him from getting a new deal this offseason, which resulted in him opting into the final year of his current contract with the Nets.
Irving is probably right in saying being unvaccinated lost him money
Irving’s lack of availability for the Nets has been something that has bothered the team for quite some time, and it appears to have caught the attention of the rest of the league. Whether it be his vaccination status, injuries, or simply not wanting to play, Irving has played in just 103 games over his first three seasons in Brooklyn.
That has certainly decreased Irving’s value, and it probably isn’t limited to just his vaccination status. Considering how the whole issue took place in a contract year for him, it was probably fresher on people’s minds, but throughout the offseason, it became clear that there weren’t many teams willing to deal with Irving’s off-court antics, despite his skills on the court.
Irving might have gotten a bigger deal this off-season if he had gotten vaccinated and played the entire season with Brooklyn last year. Now that Irving’s vaccination status won’t be as big an issue as it was last season, Irving will look to prove that he can be counted on to take the court on a nightly basis for his team. Otherwise, he could find himself complaining about how he lost money again this time next year.