With the NBA preseason underway and the team's regular season opener fast approaching, the Nets are preparing for the possibility of All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving being a part-time player this season.
Irving's continued resistance to getting the COVID-19 vaccine has the Nets "unclear" on his future plans, and the team's hope for Irving to eventually get the vaccine is waning, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. While the team was once optimistic that Irving would eventually change his stance, Brooklyn is now readying itself for Irving to be unavailable for home games and practices for the foreseeable future.
At the team's media day last week, Irving declined to divulge whether or not he planned to receive a vaccination ahead of the start of the season.
“I like to keep that stuff private,” Irving said. “I’m a human being first. Obviously living in this public sphere, there’s a lot of questions about what’s going on in the world of Kyrie, and I think I would love to keep that private and handle it the right way with my team and go forward together with a plan. Obviously I’m not able to be present there today, but that doesn’t mean I’m putting any limits on the future for me being able to join the team.”
New York City mayor Bill de Blasio made a public plea for Irving to get vaccinated, saying, "I'm a fan of Kyrie. I would just appeal to him—get vaccinated. Your fans want to see you. We all want you back. Your teammates want you back. Look, there are teams now that are 100% vaccinated. That’s a great example to everybody else.”
Last week, the NBA announced that players who are unable to play because of a failure to comply with local vaccination requirements will not be paid for the games they miss due to their status. That policy has played a role in at least one notable NBA player getting vaccinated, Golden State's Andrew Wiggins, who said he viewed the league's regulations as an ultimatum to, "get vaccinated or not play in the NBA."
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