Kyrie Irving remains away from the Brooklyn Nets. He is unvaccinated and can’t play in home games because of the New York City vaccine mandate for indoor public spaces. The Nets told Irving they didn’t want him around the team part time, that he was out until he was fully eligible.
The Nets have started the season an unimpressive 2-3 with the 29th ranked offense in the league. Kevin Durant said they miss Irving.
That has brought the focus back to Irving and if/when he might return to the Nets. When asked about it by Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN, Nets owner Joe Tsai said he hopes Irving gets vaccinated so he can return.
Joe Tsai hopes Kyrie Irving “gets vaccinated as soon as possible,” but he is unsure when the point guard will return to the team…
“I don’t know,” Tsai said in a sit-down interview with ESPN when asked when he thinks Irving will play again. “Either he has to be vaccinated in order to come back if the New York mandate is still in place. And don’t ask me when they may or may not change the New York mandate. Again, if you ask the people that are making decisions at the city level, they are going to say we are going to rely on science, rely on what the health department tells us [in order to proceed].”
Tsai added he has not spoken to Irving since the team decided they didn’t want him to play for them part time.
While the Nets’ stumbles out of the gate have made for headlines and talk radio fodder, the buzz inside league circles has been more of a shrug. Durant is playing like an MVP, James Harden is still playing his way into shape after his hamstring slowed him in the offseason (and he is adjusting to the new foul rules), but everyone expects him to return to form. The Nets’ other veterans will eventually settle into their roles. Brooklyn is not stressing over the regular season, coach Steve Nash is experimenting with lineups, but the problems are not structural — this is not a 29th ranked offense. It will come together.
Whether Irving will be with the team when it does remains the question.