Time For Brooklyn Nets To Dump Kyrie?| He Can’t Practice Or Play Games, Nets Don’t Need A Part-Time Lover

(Photo: @netszn/Instagram)

Kyrie Irving missed Nets practice on Tuesday. Kyrie is currently ineligible for home games and practice under the COVID-19 mandates requiring vaccinations for everyone 12 or older to attend large indoor gatherings. 

Irving also missed Nets media day, choosing to remain unvaccinated and participate via Zoom. His teammates supported him, with Kevin Durant saying he doesn’t see the vaccine issue being a problem. 

Earth to KD: Being unavailable for games and practices is a problem.

Last Of The Mohicans

Irving is one of the last NBA players still holding on to their refusal to get vaccinated and willing to deal with all of the complications, financial hits and games missed that comes with it. Golden State Warriors player Andrew Wiggins was very vocal as an opponent of the vaccine. He tried to get a religious exemption from the league. That failed and he recently got vaccinated. 

“As soon as you make it a cost (not to get vax), 99 percent of the people will get vaccinated,” said Max Kellerman on “This Just In.” “Kyrie seems to be the type of person to me who might not. Like a martyr looking for a cause, maybe.”   

Money Ain’t A Thing

Money means different things to different people, but if we are just talking numbers the 2016 NBA champion stands to get hit in the pockets.

Kyrie’s position is losing steam amongst his NBA brethren. Some 95 percent of NBA players are reported vaccinated, reflecting a steady rise since the opening of training camps this week, league sources told ESPN.

If any further proof is needed that Kyrie is on an island alone, LeBron James also announced his vaccination status last week. All one needs to do to gauge the temperature of the league is follow what LeBron is doing.  

‘I Think Everyone Has Their Own Choice’| LeBron James Confirms Vaccination, Explains His Stance At Lakers Media Day 

On Monday, the NBPA went all in on supporting vaccinations and alienating those who refuse. 

Via ESPN:

“The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association have agreed to a reduction in pay of 1/91.6 of a player’s salary for each game an unvaccinated player misses because of local COVID-19 vaccine mandates, sources told ESPN, a decision that stands to impact Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving.

The decision on a reduction was agreed to as a way to account for preseason, regular season and playoff games. Teams, however, will not receive any luxury tax relief for the reductions in player salary due to these reductions, sources said.

Currently, two cities — New York and San Francisco — have COVID-19 mandates that could impact players on the New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets and Golden State Warriors. In New York, to enter any gym — including Madison Square Garden and Barclays Center  individuals need proof of at least one COVID-19 shot; in San Francisco, individuals must be fully vaccinated.

His act is wearing thin with the fans too.

As of now, Irving is unable to participate in home games and stands to lose more than $15 million if he doesn’t get vaccinated this season. The Brooklyn Nets are truly in a tough spot, and Kyrie is fighting a battle he can’t possibly win if he cares at all about winning a championship.

These mandates are here to stay for a while, so it’s clear that Irving is prepared to be the center of negative attention for the entire season. He won’t be able to play in Nets home games in the regular season or the playoffs. He won’t be able to attend home practices at the Barclays. That just isn’t being part of a team with championship aspirations. It would take a miracle for the Nets to win an NBA championship under those circumstances. 

Maybe the Nets know something we don’t. Maybe Kyrie has had discussions about his intentions to get vaccinated and wants to make his disapproval of the mandates very clear before giving in.  

The saga continues. The vaccination status of Kyrie Irving will be the focal point of every Nets story this season unless he gets vaccinated. He’s essentially hijacked the narrative to promote his personal stance on COVID-19 vaccines. Everyone has the freedom to use their platform how they see fit. Let’s hope the Nets have a Plan B in place.

JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.