Nets point guard Kyrie Irving is reportedly on the brink of taking a big “L” off the court after Brooklyn’s first-round playoff exit in April.
According to ESPN, Nike is unlikely to extend Irving’s signature shoe deal beyond the 2022-23 season due to “uncertainties surrounding his NBA future.”
Irving has had a lucrative shoe series with Nike since 2014, which has become one of the sneaker giant’s most popular and profitable signature basketball shoes.
The NBA champion has a new edition of his shoe set to debut in the fall, but ESPN reports the the launch is expected to be the final year of his signature series.
“We don’t comment on contracts or rumors or speculation. Kyrie remains a Nike athlete,” a Nike spokesperson told ESPN on Thursday, with the outlet noting the brand did not deny Irving’s deal is ending.
Nike is expected to still carry some product associated with Irving in the future because of his popularity, sources told ESPN. Those items could include retro shoes from previous collections.
Irving and Nike reportedly began discussions recently about his endorsement future, and it has become apparent, per ESPN, that “his relationship with the company will change — perhaps dramatically so.”
The report came two days after Nets general manager Sean Marks didn’t sound committed to negotiating a long-term contract with Irving.
Irving has a $36.5 million player option for this upcoming season. He could choose become a free agent or look for a four-year, $185 million extension.
Irving missed 29 games this past season, garnering headlines over his refusal to comply with local vaccine ordinances. The seven-time All-Star faced backlash after his refusal to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, which prevented him from playing games in New York and Canada. His absence further complicated the Nets’ injury woes and forced the team to trade James Harden to Philadelphia for Ben Simmons — who did not suit up for the team this season.
In July, Irving slammed Nike on Instagram about the design of the Kyrie 8 edition of his shoe, calling it “trash.” At the time, Irving said, “I have nothing to do with the design or marketing” and that “Nike plans to release it without my okay.”
A day later, Irving fired Roc Nation as his agency.