The Nets listed Irving, 29, as ineligible to play in Friday’s preseason game towards the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks. New York Metropolis’s COVID-19 protocols enable solely NBA gamers with at the very least one vaccination shot to apply. He might play Monday when the Nets play an exhibition sport on the Philadelphia 76ers.
Irving, who practiced with the Nets at their coaching camp in San Diego final week, has missed three days of preseason practices along with his workforce in Brooklyn. Unable to attend media day final week at Barclays Heart, Irving joined by way of videoconference from his house and requested for privateness.
The most recent twist on this saga got here Friday afternoon, when New York City deemed Irving could, in fact, practice on the workforce’s facility shifting ahead, saying it’s a personal office. He nonetheless, nevertheless, can’t play in video games, as Barclays Heart is a public area.
The Nets, in keeping with sources, stay unclear on Irving’s intentions for getting vaccinated, and the group has made no determination, as of Thursday, on whether or not it’ll accommodate him as a part-time participant this season.
There are quite a few unknowns. Most notably: How, if in any respect, the Nets, who’re projected by ESPN’s latest win-loss predictions to win 58 video games, and their seven-time All-Star guard can work collectively previous to the beginning of Brooklyn’s season opener versus the Bucks on Oct. 19 in Milwaukee (7:30 p.m. ET, TNT).
This is every part we all know and do not find out about Irving, the Nets and the way the subsequent few weeks (or months) may play out:
How are the Nets gamers and coaches dealing with Irving’s absence?
Irving’s teammates are remaining hopeful and providing assist, with out wading right into a place on the guard’s vaccination stance. Kevin Durant stated Wednesday he nonetheless envisions Irving becoming a member of the Nets quickly.
“Possibly I am simply naïve, however that’s simply how I really feel. … [Kyrie] is coping with one thing private proper now. And whereas he’s coping with that, we’re going to deal with us right here within the fitness center and maintain working. When they’re able to determine that out, he’ll determine it out.”
Stated James Harden on Thursday: “We’ll maintain treading water. Each single day we deal with issues that we will management, issues we will get higher at. … No matter occurs, occurs. I need him to be on the workforce, in fact. … He is one of many explanation why I got here right here.”
However in the meanwhile, the Nets are shifting ahead with out him. Nets coach Steve Nash stated the workforce is not speaking with Irving on his exercises whereas he is away.
“It isn’t one thing we have mentioned,” Nash stated.
Why would the Nets not need him to simply play street video games?
That is an unprecedented scenario because the Nets might probably go lengthy stretches with out having the ability to work with Irving.
For instance, if Irving stays unvaccinated, he’ll be with the workforce for one sport between Oct. 2 and its opener on Oct. 19 in Milwaukee.
Within the second week of the common season, the Nets start a six-game homestand wherein they are going to be in New York for 13 consecutive days.
Taking part in Irving instantly after such lengthy absences from sport settings is untenable. And that is simply the subsequent month. These awkward begins and stops will repeat themselves all through the season, and that is lower than best.
May Irving be traded?
Regardless of his All-NBA expertise, groups might be reluctant to commerce for Irving for a number of causes.
There may be some query as as to if Irving would instantly report back to a brand new workforce if he was traded to a metropolis the place there wasn’t an area vaccine mandate. He has proven a willingness to depart with out permission, no matter penalties. Final season, Irving took an unapproved two-week sabbatical and missed 5 video games for private causes, paying almost $900,000 in fines for violating league protocols.
“Had a whole lot of household and private stuff happening,” Irving stated. “So, simply need to go away it at that.”
Moreover, Irving has two years, $71 million left on his contract however has a participant possibility subsequent summer season that might enable him to turn out to be an unrestricted free agent. Groups shall be hesitant to surrender vital gamers and draft picks for what might be a short-term association.
Durant, for his half, has continued to say he hopes to have Irving on the workforce.
What is the affect on Irving’s paycheck if he isn’t taking part in house video games?
The NBA and the Nationwide Basketball Gamers Affiliation agreed to a reduction in pay of 1/91.6 of a player’s salary for every sport a participant misses beneath the “affordable trigger” portion of the NBA’s collective bargaining settlement, a modified system from the one that every facet agreed to for final season’s 72-game marketing campaign.
The NBA’s expectation, sources stated, is that Irving’s refusal to get a vaccine shot, and thus being unable to render companies to his workforce, will fall beneath the “affordable trigger” clause and drive him to surrender roughly $380,000 per sport.
If he misses each sport in Brooklyn this season (together with preseason video games), plus the 2 regular-season video games towards the Knicks at Madison Sq. Backyard, it could price him north of $17 million.
However the gamers’ affiliation, sources stated, has pressured it doesn’t consider that’s essentially the case, one thing govt director Michele Roberts stated publicly to the New York Day by day Information earlier this week.
James Harden says an enormous cause he got here to the Nets is to play with Kyrie Irving and he needs him to be on the workforce.
“They have been reporting that we have agreed that if a participant who was not in a position to play due to his non-vaccination standing, they might be docked [pay],” Roberts stated. “We didn’t agree. The league’s place is that they will. We’ll see.”
Friday’s Bucks-Nets sport marks the primary time Irving has missed a sport due to the mandate.
In the meantime, Irving is eligible to signal a four-year, $187 million extension with Brooklyn.
After Durant signed his extension this summer season, Nets common supervisor Sean Marks expressed optimism an settlement might be reached with Irving, however these talks are on ice, sources stated.
Are different NBA groups or gamers affected by native vaccine mandates?
Three cities — New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles — have COVID-19 mandates that would have an effect on gamers on the New York Knicks, Nets, Golden State Warriors, LA Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers.
In New York, to enter any fitness center — together with Madison Sq. Backyard and Barclays Heart — people want proof of at the very least one COVID-19 shot; in San Francisco, people should be totally vaccinated.
Whereas the orders in New York and San Francisco apply to the gamers on these groups, the scenario in Los Angeles is murkier. The Los Angeles ordinance, which was each handed by the Los Angeles Metropolis Council and signed by Mayor Eric Garcetti on Wednesday, will go into impact Nov. 29. Beginning that day, anybody coming into, amongst different amenities, indoor gyms should be totally vaccinated. Staples Heart stated the Los Angeles ordinance doesn’t apply to it or Microsoft Theater, “who’re already topic to an present LACDPH order addressing this material.”
Each the Lakers and Clippers stated final month that their groups are, or are within the means of being, totally vaccinated.
Of be aware, Warriors swingman Andrew Wiggins obtained a COVID-19 vaccination and shall be eligible to play in house video games this season, coach Steve Kerr said following apply final Sunday. Wiggins utilized to the NBA for a non secular exemption, however that was declined by the league.
It is also necessary to notice that “non-resident performers” are exempted from all three orders, which means that — as of now — visiting gamers aren’t impacted by any of them.
Who will step up in Irving’s place?
The Nets are as well-equipped as any workforce to deal with the absence of a star of Irving’s magnitude, with each Harden and Durant out there to run the offense. Patty Mills, the workforce’s taxpayer’s mid-level exception signing, was projected to come back off the bench. Even with out Irving, Brooklyn might have the NBA’s finest offense this season.
“I imply, he is a particular participant, so it’s going to be onerous to duplicate what he brings,” Durant stated of Irving. “However skilled sports activities are in regards to the next-man-up mentality, so we’re trying ahead to guys stepping up and filling in that function as finest as they will.”
“He is a particular participant. We wish him part of this group. However a whole lot of stuff is out of our management, and we’ll let him determine that out for himself. It does not imply that I’ll say that I do not need him on the workforce. He is an enormous a part of what we do, however guys bought to step up in his absence and be who they’re and transfer ahead.”
When the Nets play in Toronto on Nov. 7, how will Canada’s vaccination guidelines have an effect on Irving?
In an NBA gamers’ affiliation memo shared with gamers and obtained by ESPN on Wednesday, there’s a point out of Canada’s Quarantine Act, which permits unvaccinated gamers to depart their inns just for official workforce actions. If these gamers break the protocols whereas in Canada, they might be fined as much as $750,000 and even face jail time.
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst contributed to this report.