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Benny Worthy Jr. 7:05pm
With NBA preseason action now in full swing, the Brooklyn Nets still aren’t sure what Kyrie Irving’s plans are regarding vaccination for the COVID-19 virus.
As of right now, as an unvaccinated player, the star point guard is unable to practice or play in New York due to New York’s local vaccine requirements. And as long as he remains unvaccinated, he’ll only be allowed to play in away games for the Nets’ squad.
The Nets have yet to reveal their plans on how they’ll deal with this issue, but sources have indicated that the organization is “preparing for the possibility” that the team will be without Irving for home games and practices for the foreseeable future.
If Irving continues with his anti-vax stance, the Nets could be forced to make a difficult decision: either only let him travel with the team for away games or sideline him all together. While a decision on this has yet to be made, head coach Steve Nash made it clear that the team will not consider relocating practice to a different state to accommodate the All-Star point guard’s needs.
Per an agreement between the NBA and its player’s union, Irving could lose up to $380,000 (under contract for $35.3 million this season) for each home game he misses due to vaccine refusal — starting with the Nets’ preseason home-opener against the Bucks on Friday.
So far this season, Irving has been unable to practice with his team at all — and stretches like this will be all too common if he remains unvaccinated this year. The Nets will only be away from home for one day through the remainder of preseason. In the second week of the regular season, the team will hold a six-game home streak. At one point in the year, they will be at home for 20 of 26 days.
Luckily for the Nets, they still have Kevin Durant and James Harden vaccinated and ready to go for a title-contending season in 2021-22.
We’ll see when/if Irving can put aside his personal reservations to join the cause.
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