Kyrie won’t play until eligible

Kyrie irving He will not play or practice for the Brooklyn Nets until he is eligible to become a full participant under local COVID-19 vaccination requirements, general manager Sean Marks said Tuesday.

“Kyrie has made a personal decision and we respect her individual right to choose. Election currently restricts her ability to be a full-time team member, and we will not allow any member of our team to participate with part-time availability. It is imperative may we continue to build chemistry as a team and remain true to our long-established values ​​of togetherness and sacrifice, “Marks said in a statement.

“Our championship goals for the season have not changed, and to achieve these goals, every member of our organization must push in the same direction. We are excited about the start of the season and look forward to a successful campaign.”

The COVID-19 vaccine mandate in New York City requires a person to have proof of at least one COVID-19 vaccine to enter indoor gyms, including the Barclays Center, the home of the Nets, and Madison. Square Garden, the home of the Knicks.

The law prevents the Nets from disclosing whether Irving was vaccinated, but the team’s statement is a strong indication that he has not met New York’s vaccination requirement.

At 11 am Tuesday, the Nets issued a statement from Marks stating that the team had decided that Irving would not have “part-time availability” and that he would be welcome back once he fulfilled the mandate from the city of New York.

The vaccine mandate, which took effect last month, states that anyone entering an indoor gym, including Brooklyn’s Barclays Center and Manhattan’s Madison Square Garden, the homes of the Nets and Knicks, must have had at least one COVID-19.

As a result, Irving could not play in 43 regular-season games, 41 at Barclays Center, plus two at MSG, and another two preseason games at Brooklyn. Marks confirmed that Irving would only lose money for those games, roughly $ 380,000 per game.

When asked if Irving’s fellow stars, Kevin Durant and James harden, were asked about this decision, Marks said that “everyone” in the organization was aware of what was happening, but that he and owner Joe Tsai were the ones who made it.

“Ultimately, this decision was Joe Tsai and I, and this decision came down to what we felt was the right move for the organization at this time,” Marks said.

The right move, in his eyes, was trying to get ahead of a situation that has involved the Nets since the beginning of training camp, when Irving joined the team’s media day from home because he could not attend in person at Barclays . Center.

After flying to San Diego for training camp and practicing with the Nets for a week, Irving was not on the team last week before a change in the city’s decision Friday night on the use of the facilities. of practice because it is a “private workspace”, as opposed to a public one like Barclays Center.

Then, after Irving practiced Saturday and Sunday in Brooklyn with the team, he did not travel to Philadelphia for Monday night’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers.

“We’re just trying to handle this,” Nets coach Steve Nash said before Monday’s game, when asked why the team decided to leave Irving at home. “We really don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow. So I think it really is … we’re just trying to take our time to figure out what it all means.

“It seems like new information is coming in every week, and we are in that process of not only trying to navigate the information, the parameters, but also what is coming in the future, how it looks and feels and what we can do to do this job. and all that stuff. That’s it. “

That vague response was replaced by a much clearer picture Tuesday morning, first by Marks’ statement and then his press conference, in which he said he had had several conversations with Irving about the situation before deciding that this would be. how the team would proceed.

He was also asked directly if Irving was vaccinated, to which he said, “Well, if he was vaccinated, we wouldn’t have this discussion. I think that’s probably pretty clear.”

However, Marks did not say if he had personally delivered the news to Irving when asked directly if he had.

“Kyrie has made it clear that he has a choice in this matter and ultimately what he decides will be up to him,” Marks said. “We respect the fact that he has a choice and can make his own right to choose. Right now, the best thing for the organization is the path we’re taking, and I don’t want to speak for Kyrie. At the right time, I’m sure that will address his feelings and what the path will be for him. “

But while Irving’s path may be indeterminate, Brooklyn decided Tuesday that, a week before the Nets open the NBA season with a game in Milwaukee against defending champion Bucks, his path would not be presented by Irving until he changes his vaccination status.

“I think we had everything on the board,” Marks said. “We analyze everything. When you make a decision like this, it is one that you do not want to make in a hurry. Again, involve all parties, think about all the different results, I think we all know what our goal is. Year and how it is, a decision like this, you may be able to [impactar] that end goal. These are never easy decisions, but at the end of the day, I think we are considering putting in a group of people who are going to be able to fully participate and that’s what it’s all about. And we are not looking for partners who are going to be part time.

“I don’t think that’s fair to not just the team, staff, owners, and fans, but to be frank, it’s also not fair to Kyrie when you’re putting someone who potentially can’t get to the right ramp. Improvements and correct stacks, etc., and looking as good as he or the team should in a different set of circumstances. That’s why this decision was ultimately made. “