For once, it does not have to do with an injury.
No, Irving is facing an absence this season because he has not received a COVID-19 vaccine.
That is important because New York City has a mandate in place that affects players on the Nets and the New York Knicks.
If they are unvaccinated, they cannot play or practice while in the city.
Andrew Wiggins of the Golden State Warriors reluctantly got his vaccine to abide by local mandates in San Francisco, but Irving does not appear ready to change his mind.
There had been previous optimism Irving would get vaccinated and fulfill local mandates, but that hope is waning and Irving’s continued resistance to vaccination has Nets preparing for possibility they’ll be without him for home practices and games for foreseeable future. https://t.co/zysmp31bsl
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 6, 2021
If the Nets are not going to let him be a part-time player, his season may be over before it even begins.
How This Gets Solved
There are two options in place to get Irving back on the court.
The first is him receiving a vaccine.
If he refuses, he would have to hope for some reason this mandate gets dropped or that he can become an exception to the rule.
However, it would appear the mandate will stay in place as we head into the winter.
Kyrie Irving did not attend Nets practice today, sources tell me and @Alex__Schiffer. Irving is currently ineligible for home games and practices because of NYC’s vaccination requirement.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) October 5, 2021
So if Irving refuses to get a vaccine there is really nothing the team can do.
The only way Irving can play or practice with the team is if they are on the road.
That obviously is not ideal and him missing practice in general is bad.
But could being a part-time player work?
The tricky part is when the Nets are home for an extended period of time.
For example, their first homestand lasts from October 24 through November 3.
Being without Irving for that stretch is bad for the Nets and totally ruins the chemistry the team is looking to build early in the year.
Then comes the way he meshes in the locker room if he gets special treatment.
Not only that, but how he meshes on the floor if he can’t even practice with the team at home.
The Nets only plan now may just be hoping Irving gives in.
That is not exactly a plan, but it is hard to figure out a different plan of action.
The Nets have a major problem on their hands and perhaps that leads to trading Irving to a city without these mandates in place.
All options have to be on the table as the organization tries to navigate this unique situation.