The standoff between Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets over the Covid vaccine has reached a new level. On Tuesday morning GM Sean Marks issued a statement that, in no uncertain terms, said Irving will not play for, or travel with the team, despite technically being able to play road games in the upcoming season.
The Nets’ decision is grounded in common sense, but will unquestionably raise some eyebrows around the NBA. Choosing to be without a key player, and part of your “big-three” in a year most pegged the team to be a contender in the finals is a bold decision, but potentially the correct one. Last week I broke down why losing continuity for a part-time Kyrie was a risk, based off his 2020 season — but there’s no question the team will miss his ability in the playoffs, where he has really shined in the past.
Despite this being a major setback to the Nets plans for 2021-22, they still have Kevin Durant and James Harden. This, coupled with signing Patty Mills in the offseason still gives Brooklyn a chance to be a favorite in the east, despite being without Irving.
It remains to be seen if this latest move by the Nets will be enough pressure to get Irving vaccinated, or if he will continue to continue his resistance to getting the shot.