Training camp is underway around the NBA, and there is no shortage of drama already unfolding. Most of the issues seem to be surrounding the portion of NBA players who have not received the vaccine. One of the players at the center of this controversy is Kyrie Irving. While Kyrie Irving is no stranger to controversy, his refusal to get the COVID vaccine may be affecting his value.
Though the NBA has not mandated that players must get the vaccine, local governments in New York and San Francisco have instituted policies that would restrict the ability of unvaccinated persons to participate in indoor activities. As a result, Irving and other unvaccinated players in those cities will not play during home games for their teams.
This policy could be a disaster for the Nets, who would need to manage without Irving for all home games. With no guarantees that he will change his mind, Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix asserted that the trade value for Kyrie Irving is at an all-time low.
“The Nets are painted into a corner. They can’t really trade him. I was asking around for a couple of teams, just for their opinion on the trade value of Kyrie Irving. It’s virtually zero. I mean, he makes $35 million this year, and he’s as unpredictable as you get. So why would you give up anything of value to get him back in return.”Chris Mannix
The Nets will have to hope Irving changes his stance on the vaccine, or they may have to play half their games without one of their three best players. While Irving may be the most high-profile player to refuse the vaccine, others remain skeptical as well.
Irving is not the only player with vaccination doubts
In addition to Irving, other players are refusing the vaccine. Though 90% of NBA players have taken the vaccine, 10% have yet to get any doses. Some of these players include Andrew Wiggins, Bradley Beal, and Jonathan Isaac. While their reasons may vary, each of them may have to miss games if they remain unvaccinated.
Last week, the NBA league office denied Andrew Wiggins’ application for a religious exemption. San Francisco is also restricting unvaccinated players from participating in home games. As an added incentive to get vaccinated, the NBA has announced that players will be docked pay for missed games due to their vaccination status.
With a month remaining before the season gets underway, both the league and the players will need to figure out solutions. With the NBPA and the league office needing to agree on a vaccine mandate, it seems we’re still distant from a universal solution. We’ll see how the situation plays out as we get closer to the beginning of the season.