- Nets owner hasn’t spoken to Kyrie Irving since the team told him he could not play until vaccinated.
- Irving could not play in New York because of vaccine mandates.
- Other Nets don’t sound hopeful of Irving changing his mind, as his absence continues.
Missing his team’s first five games doesn’t appear to have changed Kyrie Irving’s mind on getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
Due to New York City’s vaccine mandates, Irving wouldn’t be allowed to play home games with the Brooklyn Nets. The organization then decided not to let him play road games, either, saying they didn’t want to allow a part-time player.
While Irving could receive the vaccine at any time and re-join the Nets, it doesn’t sound like that’s in the cards.
In an interview with ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk, Nets owner Joe Tsai said he hasn’t spoken to Irving since October 12, when the Nets informed him that they weren’t going to allow him to play road games.
“Last time [I] talked to him was when we made the decision that he was not going to be playing until something changes,” Tsai told Youngmisuk. “We haven’t communicated since then.”
The Nets had previously openly discussed trying to sign Irving to a contract extension. However, in light of Irving’s absence, reports indicate that the team likely won’t offer one for now. Irving has a player option worth $36.5 million for the 2022-23 season.
‘I am not going to get into the extension thing,” Tsai said. “I think we have an immediate question of whether he can play this season. And I hope he gets vaccinated as soon as possible.”
Other members of the Nets haven’t given off hopeful vibes, either.
Nets head coach Steve Nash told reporters on October 15 that he didn’t want to discuss Irving’s status anymore, saying he would address it if something changed.
After a preseason game on October 14, Kevin Durant told reporters he hadn’t recently spoken to Irving. When asked how he felt about Irving’s decision to remain unvaccinated, Durant said Irving wasn’t going to change his mind.
“What is being mad going to do?” Durant said, via CBS. “You’re not going to change his mind, you know what I’m saying? We’ll let him figure out what he needs to do and the team figure out what they need to do. And us as players, when we’re in the locker room, we’re on the floor, we’re gonna work with each other.
“Life is amazing, so I can’t be too mad at somebody making a decision for themselves. Who am I to get upset at that? Just focus on what we got in this locker room. And when Ky’s ready, I’m sure he’ll talk to Joe (Tsai) and [GM] Sean (Marks) and they’ll figure it out and they’ll tell us. So until then, we’re going to keep grinding.”
However, weeks later, Tsai hasn’t spoken to Irving.
The Nets have gotten off to a bumpy 2-3 start. Durant has reiterated multiple times that the team wants Irving to be with them, but has also said the team has to figure out how to win with the available players. Durant has also said he believes the Nets have enough to contend for a championship, even if Irving doesn’t suit up at all.
In an Instagram Live earlier in October, Irving said he was not anti-vaccination. Irving said being unvaccinated was a choice he hopes people respect.
“I chose to be unvaccinated, and that was my choice, and I would ask you all to just respect that choice,” Irving said. “I am going to just continue to stay in shape, be ready to play, be ready to rock out with my teammates and just be part of this whole thing. This is not a political thing; this is not about the NBA, not about any organization. This is about my life and what I am choosing to do.”
Courtesy By INSIDER