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Brooklyn Nets announce that Kyrie Irving will not play or practice until he is fully vaccinated

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 03: Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets during a preseason game against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on October 3, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

It may be another lost season for Kyrie Irving this year. The Brooklyn Nets have announced that Irving will not participate in any team activities until he can play at full capacity. Irving’s objection to taking the COVID-19 vaccine has multiple limitations for the 2021-22 season.

The state of New York had forbidden players from participating in games without taking a dose of the vaccine. This meant that Irving would only get to play in half of Brooklyn games, less so if you consider the restrictions in San Fransisco. Many of us then wondered how Brooklyn would try to manage the team according to these temporary laws. It seems that we have our answer. Nets GM Sean Marks issued the following statement regarding the situation.

“Given the evolving nature of the situation and after thorough deliberation, we have decided that Kyrie Irving will not play or practice with the team until he is eligible to be a full participant.

Kyrie has made a personal choice, and we respect his individual right to choose. Currently the choice restricts his ability to be a full time member of the team, and we will not permit any member of our team to participate with part-time availability.”

Sean Marks

Marks added that the team would stay focused on its championship aspirations and shared its excitement for the upcoming season. Brooklyn opens their season on the road to take on the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks on October 19th.

Kyrie Irving with the Brooklyn Nets

Kyrie Irving’s tenure in Brooklyn has been, in a word, incomplete. For reasons based on injuries, opt-outs, and now exemptions, Irving has played in less than half of the Nets games since joining the team in 2019. With this new development, it stands to chance that Irving could miss most, if not all, of this season.

His decision not to take the vaccine has left the team somewhat compromised. And despite urges from the New York City mayor and others, Irving has stood firm on his position.

His recurring unavailability brings into question how the organization should feel about carrying on its relationship with Kyrie. Though Irving has shown to be an exceptional talent, his consistent absence from the team looms largely. That said, a trade may not be possible.

This will be the third year of Irving’s four-year, $136.49M contract. As we inch closer to the end of the deal, the Nets will have a big decision on their hands sooner rather than later.

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