The Nets have finally reached a decision when it comes to Kyrie Irving.
In a statement from general manager Sean Marks, it was made clear that Irving will not practice or play for the Brooklyn Nets until he is ready to be a full-time participant.
“Given the evolving nature of the the situation and after thorough deliberation, we have decided Kyrie Irving will not play or practice with the team until he is eligible to be a full participant. Kyrie has made a personal choice, and we respect his individual right to choose,” Marks said. “Currently the choice restricts his ability to be a full-time member of the team, and we will not permit any member of our team to participate with part-time availability. It is imperative that we continue to build chemistry as a team and remain true to our long-established values of togetherness and sacrifice. Our championship goals for the season have not changed, and to achieve these goals each member of our organization must pull in the same direction.”
While Marks made no explicit mention of the COVID vaccine, it’s clear that it’s get vaccinated or not play at all for Kyrie. Despite New York City’s determination that the Nets’ practice facility was a private office and that Irving would legally be allowed to practice there, the Nets have no interest in having a part-time player around.
Despite Irving’s All-NBA prowess and his 26.9 points per game on 50%/40%/92% shooting splits in 2020-2021, there is no room on an NBA roster for a player who can only play half of the time.
Vaccine mandates in New York City currently prevent unvaccinated workers from working indoors in any part of the city and Irving was set to miss all home games as a result. Fellow Nets’ star Kevin Durant had previously expressed optimism about Irving’s potential availability and head coach Steve Nash had said the team would prepare to play without their point guard during home games, but it was never made clear that Kyrie would not be playing at all until today.
Unlike Warriors’ forward Andrew Wiggins, who ultimately decided to get vaccinated in order to play this season, it does not seem that Irving is willing to change his mind on the vaccine and, as a result, the Nets will be moving forward without him.
Whether this has impliations for the rest of Irving’s career is yet to be seen but if he really does remain unvaccinated and misses the entire 2021-2022 season, the questions and opinions surronding the 29-year-old’s decision making will only grow louder.
What do you think of the Nets’ decision to bench Kyrie until he can fully participate? Let us know in the comments.