The Brooklyn Nets remain unclear on All-Star guard Kyrie Irving’s ultimate intentions to get vaccinated and have made no decision on whether the organization will accept him as a part-time player this season, sources told ESPN.
There had been previous optimism that Irving would get vaccinated and fulfill local government mandates that would allow him to practice and play in New York this season, but that hope is waning and Irving’s continued resistance to vaccination has the Nets bracing for the possibility. to do so and not count on him for home practices and games for the foreseeable future, sources told ESPN.
If Irving remains unvaccinated, the Nets could soon face a decision on whether to allow Irving in and out with the team in and out of New York, or just keep him on the sidelines all together, the sources said.
The Nets have openly supported Irving’s process of considering vaccination and believe they have listened, supported, and educated him, but the franchise’s collective patience will be tested more and more the longer Irving does not commit to joining the team. full way.
The Nets believe they are still a championship contender with a roster built around Kevin Durant and James Harden and may ultimately have to make tough decisions about Irving’s future if he remains unvaccinated and unable to play at Barclays Center. or Madison Square Garden.
Under an agreement between the League and the players’ union, Irving could lose game checks of approximately $ 380,000 for every home game missed due to protocols beginning with Friday’s preseason game at home against the Milwaukee Bucks. Irving, 29, has a $ 35.3 million contract this season.
After Irving missed practice Tuesday in Brooklyn, Nets coach Steve Nash said the team will not consider relocating practices outside of New York to accommodate him. The team will only be away from home for one day for the rest of the preseason, Monday for a game in Philadelphia. At that time, Irving will not have been allowed to practice or play with the team for 10 days.
The challenge of an unvaccinated Irving could put the Nets to the test immediately in the regular season. With a six-game roster beginning the second week of the season, Irving would be away from his teammates for 11 days before he could train with them again. That is a situation that will repeat itself over and over again for different lengths. During a stretch in November and December, the Nets are at home for 20 of the 26 days.