Charles Barkley critical of Irving’s $36.5 million option: “He has to earn it”

Barkley critical of Kyrie Irving
Former Auburn and NBA player, Charles Barkley, left, hugs former Auburn coach Sonny Smith as he is honored before the first half of an NCAA college basketball game between Auburn and Oklahoma Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022, in Auburn, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

NBA Hall-of-Famer, Charles Barkley has never been one to shy away from critiquing any current NBA player over the last few years. Kyrie Irving is no exception.

Over a zoom call to promote the American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament, Barkley opened about Irving and why he felt the former NBA Champion shouldn’t get a pass. 

“If it was me, I would say, ‘Hey, guy, we can’t trust you, what you’re going to do,’ ” Barkley said in regards to Irving’s contract talks. “I’m not giving you a four-year extension for $200 million because we can’t count on you.”

Barkley’s comments come after the latest reports show that Irving is currently in talks with the Brooklyn Nets on a new contract extension. 

Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) walks up the court during the first half of Game 4 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Boston Celtics, Monday, April 25, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

The Brooklyn Net point guard has a player option totaling over $36 million that, if he declines, could make him a free agent this offseason. 

“He’s got one year left with his option, he’s going to pick it up and we’ll see how he behaves next year,” Barkley said.

Since signing with the Nets in 2013, Irving has dealt with personal, mental and physical issues that have kept him out of 123 of 226 regular-season games. This past year, Irving missed over 50 games due to his refusal to get the COVID-19 vaccination that was required for all New York residents looking to come into work. 

While talks have continued, Charles Barkley isn’t the only NBA Analyst to be highly critical of the point guard’s lack of play the last few years. 

With Kyrie basically being a part-time player, the Nets struggled to end the year falling to the Boston Celtics in the first round of the playoffs in a clean sweep. 

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