As most know by now, Irving has so far refused to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
New York City has a specific mandate in place preventing such individuals from entering certain indoor public places.
Barclays Center, where the Nets play their home games, falls under that mandate.
But what about practice?
At first it appeared Irving would be barred from also practicing with his team.
However, a ruling has reportedly changed that.
City Hall official says Irving is cleared to practice at home, but still not able to play in games at Barclays Center until the All-NBA guard fulfills vaccine requirement. https://t.co/OFy974t6iM
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) October 8, 2021
At least being able to practice at home is a bit of good news for Irving and the Nets, even if it does not solve the larger problem.
A Weird Potential Scenario
If Irving truly refuses to get a vaccine, it is possible he practices with the team both at home and on the road.
But he would only play in road games.
That is going to be tough for head coach Steve Nash to navigate and he may decide to bench Irving altogether.
It would be weird for the Nets to have a giant homestand without Irving, only to insert him back into the starting lineup for the next road game.
That may just be what happens if ownership demands Irving has to play if available.
So Many Factors In Play
This is a difficult situation with the easiest solution being Irving getting vaccinated.
“There is a belief in some corners of the league that Irving would retire, or at least deeply ponder it, if Brooklyn suddenly traded him.”
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) October 8, 2021
Yet no one can be forced to do so and he has a right to refuse.
But there are so many factors in play here and if every single one of his teammates is vaccinated and ready to play, animosity may arise at certain points.
That just seems inevitable, especially for a team trying to win a championship.
Imagine if this mandate remains in place and Irving could not play in home NBA Finals games.
That would surely drive the entire organization crazy.
Once again, no one can force Irving to get a vaccine.
But things are going to change if he does not and the season gets underway without him playing at home.
Kevin Durant and James Harden want to win and this team has the potential to be a dynasty for a nice stretch of time.
Yet with Irving going in and out of the lineup, a distraction would arise from one of the players who is supposed to be a key to their success.