No 186-million extension for Kyrie Irving due to Covid vaccine holdout? The end of the Big 3?
Kyrie will not play or practice. No extension either
Kyrie Irving will not play or practice with the Brooklyn Nets until he’s able to fully participate. Moreover, the franchise reportedly will not offer him an $186-million extension due to his refusal to take the vaccine.
The Nets have already signed an extension to Kevin Durant and are planning to do the same with James Harden.
No vaccine for Kyrie
The guard’s decision to not comply with New York City’s COVID-19 guidelines and vaccine mandate has left Brooklyn’s franchise with “no choice” but to keep him away from the team until he receives at least one dose of the vaccine.
Team’s opinions. Nash: A difficult, sound decision
“Things change. We’d love to have Kyrie back,” said Nets’ head coach Steve Nash. “In the meantime, we’ll build and keep growing with this group and move forward… It takes time to make decisions like that. This is a difficult decision. But I think it was a sound one and one that makes complete sense to everyone.”
“Kyrie believes in his beliefs and he stands firmly strong on that,” said Irving’s teammate James Harden. “For us, we respect it. We all love Ky. But as far as us, we have a job to do.”
“We will not permit any member of our team to participate with part-time availability,” Nets’ General Manager Sean Marks stated. “My job here is to make what we deem as the best decision and best choices for the organization moving ahead as a whole. They’re not always ones that are going to be met with open arms and thumbs up. These are hard decisions. Just like I’m sure it wasn’t easy for Kyrie either to have to make that [decision] to not be around his teammates,” Marks explained.
Fans not happy
A hard hit for a team whose championship goals last year were battered by injuries. Many fans thought this could be the right year to win a ring. Kyrie’s absence isn’t a great start. “It is imperative that we continue to build chemistry as a team and remain true to our long-established values of togetherness and sacrifice. Our championship goals for the season have not changed,” the general manager added.
NYC vaccine mandate
New York City’s mandate, which went into effect last month, requires residents to have at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine to enter indoor gyms, including the Barclays Center, the Nets’ arena.
So far, about 96% of NBA players have been vaccinated.
Keep it private?
On Media Day in September Irving declared he preferred to keep his vaccination status private. “I think I just would love to just keep that private and handle it the right way with my team and go forward together with a plan,” he said on Zoom. Not much space for privacy for the matter is left.
The regular season starts for the Nets with a game against the reigning champion team Milwaukee Bucks on October 19th.
For past Kyrie related issues, click here.