As discussed earlier this week, Rob Pelinka confirmed that the Lakers roster is 100% vaccinated. This means that fans and the team will not have to worry if any player will have to be forced out of lineups due to state mandates that require vaccination to play.
Even though this entire ordeal will not affect the Lakers negatively, it still will play a big impact for the majority of this upcoming season. Remember, home team players in both San Francisco and New York must abide by state mandates to be vaccinated in order to play.
The first domino has already fallen, as the SF Public Health Department told Golden State Warriors’ Andrew Wiggins that he is not allowed to play in any home games if he refuses to get vaccinated. The NBA later followed up and denied Wiggins request for a religious exemption, since the state mandate does not allow for these exemptions to take place.
New York Knicks roster were said to have been 100% vaccinated so they are out of trouble. However, the Brooklyn Nets— the Lakers’ biggest threat to a title—will have this issue to deal with for the foreseeable future.
Fox Sports’ Yaron Weitzman reported yesterday that the eccentric guard Kyrie Irving is unvaccinated.
If New York state follows the same protocol of what California did to Wiggins, this will definitely hinder the Nets chances to win a title this season. In this scenario, Irving would likely be denied to participate in any games in Brooklyn if he refuses to get vaccinated. Judging from Irving’s past history in Boston and Cleveland, this could potentially prove to be a distraction for the team.
Barring any injuries aside, this could prove to be a positive to the Lakers title hopes if Irving is missing in half their games. Vegas currently has the Nets as odds on favorites to win this season’s championship at +240.
Nets general manager Sean Marks was recently asked about the status on his roster being vaccinated before the season.
"Regarding if they could play today, I can't comment on who could play and so forth. There would obviously be a couple people missing from that picture. I won't get into who it is, but we feel confident in the following several days before camp everybody would be allowed to participate and so forth."
We will know soon, as the Lakers are set to host the Nets on October 3 in their first preseason game of the year. If Irving is missing from the arena that game, do not be surprised if it has something to do with the California state mandate that requires participants at indoor events (holding over 1,000 people) to provide proof of vaccination.