New York has a mandate requiring residents to be vaccinated to be in public indoor spaces such as restaurants and gyms — and that includes the Barclays Center, where the Nets play their home games. That’s why the unvaccinated Kyrie Irving cannot play in Nets’ home games.
However, is the Nets’ practice facility a public space?
The City of New York ruled the facility, also in Brooklyn, is a private business, which means Irving can work out and practice with the team there, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.
New York City has determined the Brooklyn Nets‘ practice facility, HSS Training Center, is a private office building – clearing Nets All-Star Kyrie Irving to practice at home, City Hall official tells @TheAthletic @Stadium.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) October 8, 2021
— Brian Lewis (@NYPost_Lewis) October 8, 2021
While he still cannot play in games, this is a step forward for Irving and the Nets, keeping him going through workouts and shootarounds, being part of the team.
This does not come close to eliminating the issue of one of the Nets’ Big 3 missing 43 games (the 41 Nets home games, plus games against the Knicks at Madison Square Garden), nor does it eliminate the distraction this issue could potentially become for the team. The NBA has approved docking Irving’s pay for the home games he misses due to eligibility — an estimated $363,000 or so a game — although the players union likely will fight that.
The questions about how this impacts the Nets this season remain, but Irving can now practice with his teammates.