No Covid vaccine, a $100 million decision – Irving
Choosing not to get vaccinated against Covid-19 was a $100 million decision, says Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving.
Last season, Irving, 30, was unable to play in Nets home games until March because of New York’s ban on unvaccinated people in indoor facilities.
Their availability for away games also depended on the vaccine requirements of the various states.
The seven-time All Star says his decision not to get vaccinated cost him a four-year contract extension.
“I gave up four years, 100 million and a little more by deciding not to vaccinate and that was the decision,” he said.
“[Get this] to hire, to vaccinate or not to vaccinate and there’s a level of uncertainty about their future, if you’re going to be in this league, if you’re going to go to this team, so I had to deal with that real-life circumstance. of losing my job because of this decision.”
The new NBA season starts on October 18 and Irving will play for the Nets on a $36.5m (£33.7m) player option deal, but could become a free agent free next summer
He had planned to sign a new contract in 2021.
“We were supposed to figure this all out before training camp last year,” Irving said. “And it didn’t happen because he wasn’t vaccinated.
“So, I got his point and had to live with it. It was a hard pill to swallow, honestly.
“I felt like I was forced to make an ultimatum of whether or not I had a contract, whether or not I can be in the team. [based on] whether he was vaccinated or not. They definitely put me in that position where I had to make that decision.”
However, general manager Sean Marks questioned Irving’s opinion, saying that contract talks “stopped” when the pandemic began.
“There’s no ultimatum given here,” Marks said. “Again, you want reliable people again, people who are here and responsible. All of us: staff, players, coaches, you name it.
“It’s not giving someone an ultimatum to get a vaccine. This is a completely personal choice.
“Two summers ago, when we were talking about contract negotiations, it was citywide pre-mandates. Once the vaccine mandates came in, you knew how that would affect playing home games. That’s when the contract talks stalled .
“It didn’t get to ‘here’s the deal, now give it back.’ That never happened.”
Meanwhile, Irving’s Nets teammate Kevin Durant says he’s “committed” to the team, despite handing in a trade request in the summer because of doubts he had about his direction and leadership. Coach Steve Nash.
He later rescinded the request after meeting with Nets owner Joe Tsai, Nash and Marks.
“I’m getting older. I want to be in a stable place and try to build a championship culture,” he said.
“We came to a mutual agreement that we have to keep moving forward.”
He added: “I still love playing. I knew that wouldn’t be affected.
“I’m committed to moving forward with this team, so if they [fans] I doubt it, I can’t control it.”