As Bobby Marks of ESPN notes (via Twitter), Irving’s games-played total will be worth keeping an eye on down the stretch, since a couple of his contract bonuses hinge on him playing in at least 53 games — he’d have to appear in seven of Brooklyn’s nine contests after Thursday in order to meet that threshold.
Irving’s contract includes eight separate bonuses, each worth $131,250. Some are out of reach, including playing 62 games and recording a defensive rating below 106 (he’s at 113.9). However, Kyrie is on track to reach some of his incentive benchmarks, including an offensive rating of 114+ (he’s at 119.9) and shooting at least 88.5% from the free throw line (he’s at 92.3%).
As Marks tweets, Irving would also receive three separate $131,250 bonuses for making at least 2.8 three-pointers per game, committing fewer than 2.4 turnovers per game (in 53+ games) and attempting at least 4.6 free throws per game (in 53+ games). His per-game averages in those categories so far are 2.7 threes, 2.5 turnovers and 4.3 free throw attempts.
Here’s more on the Nets:
- Nets forward Alize Johnson is available to play against Indiana on Thursday night, according to the team (Twitter link). Johnson missed the team’s last three games after being placed in the NBA’s health and safety protocols.
- Mike James is making a strong initial impression in Brooklyn, racking up 11 points and eight assists in Tuesday’s win over Toronto and making a case to stick around beyond his current 10-day contract, writes Brian Lewis of the New York Post. “He’s an athletic and skilled player. As long as he plays simple and makes good basketball plays — like he has with us those first few games — he can play a role for us,” head coach Steve Nash said. “He has a burst of pace, he can get into paint, play draw-and-kick.”
- While James’ new coach has been impressed by him so far, it doesn’t sound like two of his old coaches miss him much. As Lewis relays in a separate New York Post story, CSKA Moscow’s Dimitris Itoudis and Olimpia Milano’s Ettore Messina both offered less-than-glowing reviews of James’ locker room presence.
- In case you missed it, we passed along word on Wednesday that Nets star James Harden still isn’t close to returning from his hamstring injury.