Lately, Kyrie Irving has been making NBA headlines for all the wrong reasons. Irving, a 7-time All-Star and NBA Champion, has not stated his intentions on taking the COVID- 19 vaccine. As it stands now, he is currently ineligible for Brooklyn Nets home games due to a local government mandate. It’s uncertain if he would be permitted to travel, practice, or play with the team with his current status. The Nets may have to explore the possibility of Irving being a part-time player. If this drama continues, the Nets could be faced with some very tough decisions.
Kyrie Irving Will Miss Time If Not Vaccinated
Kyrie Irving’s Hesitation
Irving isn’t the first NBA player to be hesitant about receiving the vaccine. Although the league has a 95% vaccination rate currently, there are plenty of players that remain unvaccinated. Irving’s situation is different. Due to a New York City mandate, all athletes who play or practice in the city must be vaccinated. Golden State Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins was also hesitant to take the vaccine, but San Francisco also had a similar mandate. Wiggins elected to get the vaccine stating, “The only options were to get vaccinated or not play in the NBA.”
How Brooklyn is Responding
Irving was absent for Brooklyn’s media day along with their first practice. His teammates have been supportive throughout the process but their patience will be tested even more the longer he remains uncommitted. Nets head coach Steve Nash stated that the team will not hold outdoor practices to accommodate Irving.
How Kyrie Irving’s Absence Could Impact Brooklyn
No doubt, Brooklyn wants Irving to be available every game this season, but if this saga continues they may have to make some difficult decisions relating to his future. He would not be able to play home games in the Barclays Center of Madison Square Garden if he remains unvaccinated.
Brooklyn is still a championship contender without Irving. They would still have a dynamic duo of Kevin Durant and James Harden. If Irving is absent for the majority of the season, Patty Mills will likely have to step up and accept a larger role. That’s not an ideal situation for the Nets, they want their All-Star guard to be available. They don’t want to waste time on someone who can not commit to the team.
What’s at Stake For Irving
Irving could potentially lose around 380,000 for every home game missed due to his unvaccinated status. That includes pre-season games. Brooklyn’s team chemistry will be tested as soon as the regular season starts. If Irving misses practices and games due to protocols, his reputation with his teammates, and around the league, will start to get damaged even more.
Irving has always been somewhat unpredictable, but this is a different situation. Brooklyn doesn’t have much time to waste. After coming up short in last year’s playoffs, they have their sights set on a championship. Ideally, they would love to have all the members of their big 3 available for all possible games. Right now, they are left wondering.
It will be interesting to see how this story plays out and if Irving gets vaccinated.
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