With only two weeks left before the start of the season, the Brooklyn Nets are unsure about what Kyrie Irving’s intentions are concerning the coronavirus vaccine.
At a point in time, Kyrie Irving was given the monicker ‘The Bus Driver’ for his renowned ankle-breakers that often left defenders dazed and confused. In 2021, however, Irving is operating a different vehicle: he’s the conductor of a roller coaster in Brooklyn that the Nets organization is strapped into and unsure about what to expect from him.
There are only two weeks left before the Nets kick off the 2021-22 NBA season with a marquee matchup against the Milwaukee Bucks. Despite this, Irving’s availability for the team on opening night and throughout the course of the season remains up in the air.
This offseason, the 29-year-old New Jersey native is one of the few players who have openly refused to get the coronavirus vaccine. However, unlike other counterparts against the vaccine, Irving cannot play in Brooklyn this season without being vaccinated. And if he remains unvaccinated, for the games he misses at home, he will forfeit half of his salary.
Per a report from ESPN’s Brian Windhorst and Adrian Wojnarowski, the Nets have no clue on what Irving plans to do concerning the vaccination and have yet to determine whether or not they will accommodate him as a part-time player this season.
Nets: Kyrie Irving’s vaccination status a mystery
There was some optimism that Irving would concede his stance and get vaccinated in order to rejoin the team prior to the start of the season but as the opening night draws nearer, the Nets have begun preparing for a reality where they don’t have Irving at home practices or home games.
If Brooklyn decided to give the star guard the leeway to sit out for half of the season and potentially play the other half, it’d be one of the more unique situations in recent history.
Having Irving show up for only half of the season is less than ideal given his injury history: in the last four seasons, he’s only appeared in 141 out of a potential 308 regular-season games he could’ve played in. Last season, he also missed the Nets’ last three playoff games against the eventual champions, Milwaukee.
If he continues to withstand the vaccine, it will cost Irving approximately $380,000 for every home game missed.