The Brooklyn Nets used a 48-24 record to secure the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference, setting a franchise record for regular-season winning percentage in the process. At the heart of it was Kyrie Irving.
The 29-year-old Irving put himself in elite company Sunday with another highly efficient performance, shooting nearly 64 percent from the field and 100 percent from 3-point range in a win against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Those numbers helped Irving secure his spot in the “50/40/90” club, a group reserved for players who shoot at least 50% from the field, 40% from 3-point range and 90% on free throws.
Irving’s remarkable season had some financial benefits, too.
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Irving Earns Over Half a Million in Bonuses
Irving had sevel performance-based incentives built into his contract. According to ESPN NBA front office insider Bobby Marks, Irving hit half of them.
The Nets star collected a total of $525,000 in bonuses thanks to reaching four bonus thresholds, according to Marks: 3-pointers made, turnovers, offensive rating and free throw percentage.
Irving averaged 2.8 3-pointers per game, just enough to earn him a $131,250 bonus, per Marks. And his 2.4 turnovers per game were just few enough to earn him a $131,250 bonus as well, according to Marks.
Irving missed out on bonuses for defensive rating, games played, personal fouls and free throws attempted, per Marks.
Irving, the No. 1 overall pick out of Duke in 2011, missed 18 games this season for a variety of reasons, both personal and injured-related. By season’s end, Brooklyn’s Big Three of Irving, Kevin Durant and James Harden had played only eight games together since the team traded for Harden in the middle of January.
Still, Irving probably won’t be losing any sleep over the bonuses he missed.
Relatively speaking, it’s all just a drop in the bucket for a seven-time All-Star who, to this point, has earned nearly $159 million over his 10-year NBA career, according to spotrac.com.
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Historical Season for Irving
Irving finished the season averaging 26.9 points, the second-best figure of his career. The only time he averaged more was last season, when he dropped 27.4 points per game. This season, Irving also averaged 4.8 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 1.4 steals per game.
But those numbers aren’t what lifted Irving’s 2020-21 campaign from great to historical.
Irving shot 50.6 percent from the field, 40.2 percent on 3s and 90.2 percent from the free throw line. He joined Larry Bird, Stephen Curry and Durant as the only players to average at least 25 points per game during a 50-40-90 season, per ESPN.
“Phenomenal season from Ky,” Durant said on Sunday, per ESPN. “He’s a guy who can get it from anywhere on the floor at any time at that size is remarkable. Point guards that get 50/40/90 is just so much more impressive to me. I’m very happy for Kyrie, and I’m sure this won’t be his last time.”