The Brooklyn Nets, winners of eight straight games heading into Saturday’s contest against the Dallas Mavericks at Barclays Center, continue to rise in the standings — and that’s despite the absence of Kevin Durant, whose lingering hamstring injury will cost him a seventh straight game Saturday.
Against the Mavs, the Nets will have to try to keep their winning streak alive without another member of their Big Three — Kyrie Irving. The Nets star has been ruled out for the game due to right shoulder injury recovery.
Nets‘ Kyrie Irving is listed out tonight vs. Mavericks due to right shoulder injury recovery.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) February 27, 2021
Kyrie’s Asbences Could Soon Cost Him Financially
As Irving’s absences continue to build — Saturdays’ game will mark his 11th missed game of the season — the likelihood of him missing out on a games-played bonus in his contract increases.
Per ESPN NBA front office insider Bobby Marks, Irving’s games-played bonus has been prorated from 70 to 61 games this season to account for the shortening of the NBA season from 82 to 72 games.
Irving missed out on the bonus last year because of the shoulder injury that cost him much of the season, and, according to Marks, he’s at risking of missing the $131,250 bonus once again if he is inactive for two more games after Saturday.
The missed game (injury related) against Dallas has Kyrie Irving tending toward missing out on a bonus for games played.
From this past week: pic.twitter.com/Sc9Zzeh11B
— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) February 27, 2021
Still, that amount is a drop in the bucket for a star in the midst of a four-year, $136,490,600 deal whose career earnings are already over $230 million, according to spotrac.com.
Irving missed seven games toward the beginning of the season due to personal reasons.
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Irving on Pace to Cash in Elsewhere
There are a number of other bonuses included in Irving’s contract, according to Marks, and he’s on pace to hit most of them this season. The 28-year-old guard, who is headed to Atlanta next weekend for his seventh All-Star Game, is averaging 27.4 points, 5.9 assists and 4.7 rebounds.
From Marks’ February 22 article on ESPN.com:
Irving also has additional $131,250 statistical bonuses for free throws attempted, fouls per game, turnovers per game, free throw percentage and offensive and defensive rating. He is trending toward likely for every bonus except personal fouls and free throw attempts per game.
Kevin Durant Has One Bonus All but Locked Up
Durant, Irving’s teammate, has a $1 million bonus if the Nets advance to the postseason, according to Marks. Fortunately for Durant, that bonus is not tied into games played. In fact, he earned the bonus last season despite not playing in a game for the Nets.