Here’s what happened to Kyrie Irving, the Nets star suspended for not being vaccinated

No public appearances for the 29-year-old, who stays away from Brooklyn: that’s what’s happening to him

Davide Chinellato

@dchinellato

He was last seen in public ten days ago, mingled in the audience at a college basketball game. But no declarations, no greetings. And above all, no basketball. Kyrie Irving, the Brooklyn star parked because he decided not to get vaccinated against Covid, continues to stay out of the NBA spotlight, waiting to see if he will really stay out all season.

The situation

Suspended from mid-October

Irving, 29, has been suspended since October 12, when the Nets decided we couldn’t afford to have him part-time. Kyrie is in fact firm in his belief not to get vaccinated against the coronavirus: for NBA players it is an optional choice (rather than mandatory, as for all the other members of the Association’s family, from coaches to referees to team employees), but a rule of New York City prevents access to facilities such as the Barclays Center for all unvaccinated people residing or working in the Big Apple.

At the start of the training camp at the end of September, Irving was even banned from entering the Nets’ training facility, a prohibition that fell when a new interpretation of the law made the facility off-limits to private offices. “Irving had a choice and he made it – explained GM Sean Marks in mid-October -: my job is to make the best decisions for the franchise, even when they are as difficult as this one. We want Kyrie with us, we consider him part of the team. But we can’t afford to have partners who are only half committed. We want him back with us, but at the moment he is not part of the team ”. Following that decision, Irving is no longer with the Nets: not only does he not play home games due to the New York law, which could cost him up to $ 17 million, but he does not train with the team and does part of everyday life of the Nets.

Where is Kyrie?

“We feel, but …”

Irving explained his truth the day after the Brooklyn announcement, via a live Instagram: “Do you really think I want to lose money? Or that I want to give up my job, my dream of winning a title? Do you really think that I want to give up what we were building with my companions, that I want to give up my life because of an obligation, of a vaccine? Come on … But this is my life, and I can do what I want with it. And instead I am drawn into something much bigger than basketball, even if I’m just a player, ”he said. Since then, silence has fallen on Kyrie, thanks to the attention shifted to the field, where the Nets with Kevin Durant and James Harden leading the way are at the top of the East with 12 wins and 5 losses.

“We are in contact, I feel it regularly – said coach Nash -. We just … let’s not talk about basketball. I call him to make sure he is well, that nothing happens to him “. Not only did Irving no longer speak to the media, but he no longer addressed his 15.5 million followers on social media. The last few posts are beautiful drawings, interspersed with messages in favor of that battle for social justice for which Irving was ready to blow the bola of Disney World last year.

When he returns?

If you don’t get vaccinated …

Nothing has changed between Irving and Brooklyn since the start of the season. Kyrie is suspended and away from the team: in order to return he must agree to get vaccinated and put the team in first place, as for weeks the management of Brooklyn asked him to do. The other not-too-secret hope is that New York City changes the rules: The Big Apple has elected a new mayor, Democrat Eric Adams, who will take office in January and has promised to reconsider the situation, even if the evolution of the coronavirus, which is hitting hard again in the US and especially the unvaccinated, does not authorize Kyrie to be optimistic. The message the Nets keep getting to him is always the same: Irving is welcome to join the team, as long as he agrees to be a part of it completely.

Trade

Because it’s not an option

The other option for Kyrie’s return to the field is the sale via trade to a team in a city that does not have the same rules in place as in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Given the situation that Philadelphia is experiencing with Ben Simmons, separated at home after asking for the sale and in the pits because he does not feel mentally ready to play, rumors had spread of an exchange of point guards between Sixers and Nets. However, the hypothesis never took off, also because Irving could become a free agent at the end of this season, having a 36.5 million player option for 2022-23.

This is what holds back potential buyers: the Nets consider Irving an important part of their title race and to sell him they want a player of equal value, who allows them to improve the roster to win immediately. It is possible that something will change after December 15th, when players who signed a free agent contract in August can also be traded. Kyrie’s will must also be considered: a welcome destination is needed, otherwise there is the risk of another header by one of the most unpredictable players in the NBA. For now, Irving remains suspended and away from public life. Fully faithful to his choice not to get vaccinated, ready to risk everything, including his career, to remain consistent with his principles.

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Here’s what happened to Kyrie Irving, the Nets star suspended for not being vaccinated

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