The team most likely to upend the Brooklyn Nets title chances are the Brooklyn Nets.
One potential self-inflicted disruption is Kyre Irving missing all home games because he is not vaccinated and therefore does not meet New York City’s vaccine mandate. Nets coach Steve Nash said Sunday that the team is moving forward under the assumption Irving will miss games at the Barclays Center, at least for now.
Nets coach Steve Nash says, as of now, team is operating under assumption that Kyrie Irving won’t be available for home games due to local vaccination ordinance. As he has said previously when asked about Irving, Nash notes that things can change at any moment.
— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) October 10, 2021
Steve Nash sounds like it’s a given Irving will be missing time at home. #nets
— Brian Lewis (@NYPost_Lewis) October 10, 2021
That’s how Nash and the Nets have to plan at this point, although Kevin Durant said, “we want him here for the whole thing.” To this point, any peer pressure from Durant or James Harden, and the potential loss of checks for games missed has not motivated Irving to get the jab. It’s hard to see what changes at this point.
Irving was at the Nets “practice in the park” on Saturday, a public outdoor event for the team — and he got a huge ovation from fans. Irving can practice with the Nets at their facility but cannot play in games at the Barclays Center because that is a public venue.
What might change the equation is now well (or not well) the Nets start the season. That said, a team with top-10 players such as Durant and Harden, plus strong veteran depth, is better able to withstand the loss of Irving — and ignore the distraction — than most teams.
At some point, however, Irving will be missed.