After making an appearance at the Brooklyn Nets’ first preseason game in LA alongside teammates and fellow superstars Kevin Durant and James Harden over the weekend, Kyrie Irving was not at practice on Tuesday.
Irving, who has been staunch in his anti-COVID vaccine stance, was forced to miss practice as New York City mandates say that in order for individuals to participate in indoor activities, they must be vaccinated.
Irving’s absence from Nets practice is no surprise. The superstar point guard has been clear that he has no interest in receiving the COVID vaccine, and despite other NBA players like Andrew Wiggins ultimately deciding to get vaccinated in order to not miss games in vaccine mandated cities, it seems as if all sides have reached a stalemate.
It was reported that Irving, if he remains unvaccinated, will lose out on $381,000 per game missed this season and analysts and former players like Kendrick Perkins have been outspoken in saying that the Nets and Irving’s teammates should simply cut ties with him. The Nets have made no indication that they’ll trade, release or punish Irving in any way (besides financially), but it is now being reported that the team is prepared to move on knowing he will not be available for any home games or practices.
ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski had previously reported that the Nets were unsure of Irving’s plans regarding the COVID vaccine but as the regular season approaches, Woj is now reporting the Nets are less optimistic.
“There had been previous optimism Irving would get vaccinated and fulfill local mandates, but that hope is waning and Irving’s continued resistance to vaccination has Nets preparing for possibility they’ll be without him for home practices and games for foreseeable future,” Woj offered on Twitter.
Losing Irving for half of their games would be a big enough blow (he averaged 26.9 ppg, 6 apg and 4.8 rpg on 50%/40%/92% splits last season) but it will be interesting to see just how accommodating the Nets are. There is an easy fix to this problem and seeing as how Brooklyn’s two other superstars were vaccinated and are ready to be on the court as much as possible, it would not be crazy for the Nets to take further action to prevent Irving from participating at all. There have been few instances of this lack of availability throughout NBA history and as the old saying goes, availability is the best ability and currently, Irving is not very available.
Let us know what you think of the Kyrie situation and how the Nets should move forward in the comments below.