Since he was drafted number one overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2011 NBA Draft, Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving has not played a full 82-game season. But since he arrived in Brooklyn at the start of the 2019 season, the star point guard has been excessively absent.
As the old saying goes the best ability is availability and, to put it bluntly, Kyrie has just not been available for the Nets when they have needed him the most. The Nets wanted to ink Irving to an extension last season, but his refusal to get the COVID-19 vaccination stalled talks of a new deal between the two sides. The repercussions of Irving’s absences are starting to extend beyond the court. ESPN Insider Adrian Wojnarowski reports that because of ‘uncertainty’ surrounding the Nets star’s future, they are not likely to extend his current endorsement deal.
“Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving has long had one of Nike’s most popular and profitable signature basketball shoes, but uncertainties surrounding his NBA future have left the company unlikely to extend him to a similar signature deal beyond the 2022-23 season, sources told ESPN,” Wojnarowski writes per ESPN.
“Irving has a new edition of his shoe set to debut in the fall, but that is expected to be the final year of a lucrative signature series that he has had with Nike since 2014, sources said.”
The latest Nets news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Nets newsletter here!
Join Heavy on Nets!
Nike May Retro Kyrie’s Shoes in the Future
Per Bro Bible, Irving’s Nike Contract nets him around $11 million a year. Wojnarowski says that despite the company’s unlikeliness to extend Kyrie’s sneaker deal, they still plan to distribute his sneakers as retro models.
“Because of Irving’s popularity, it is expected Nike will still offer some product associated with him in the future, such as retro shoes from previous collections, sources said,” Wojnarowski wrote per ESPN.
“But as discussions between Nike and Irving about his endorsement future have commenced recently, it has become apparent his relationship with the company will change — perhaps dramatically so.”
Wojnarowski also says that he spoke to a Nike spokesperson recently. And although the spokesperson declined to comment on Irving’s current contract situation, they did not deny the allegations that Irving’s deal with the company could soon be ending.
“We don’t comment on contracts or rumors or speculation. Kyrie remains a Nike athlete,” the spokesperson said to Wojnarowski.
Kyrie’s Outburst at Nike Contributed to Wariness of New Deal
In addition, to the turmoil that has followed Irving this season, a social media episode where the Nets star took aim at the company last year has had a major influence on the Nike’s pending decision to extend him or not, according to Wojnarowski.
“In July, Irving lashed out on social media about the design of the Nike Kyrie 8 edition of his shoe, calling it “trash” and insisting that “I have nothing to do with the design or marketing” and that “Nike plans to release it without my okay,””Wojnarowski writes.
“Days later, Irving issued a statement tempering those words, but that episode certainly did little to lay the groundwork for another deal centered on his signature shoe series.”
Although Kyrie was eventually allowed to play this season while being unvaccinated, his decision to not get the shot is already proving to have major consequences. It will be interesting to see what else the future holds for the All-Star guard.
READ NEXT: Nets Rumored To Be Making Major Coaching ‘Shake-Up’: Report