Nets: Kyrie won't be with team until he can be 'full-time member'
The Brooklyn Nets will not allow star guard Kyrie Irving to play or practice with the team in any capacity until he is eligible to do so as a full participant, general manager Sean Marks announced Tuesday.
"Kyrie has made a personal choice, and we respect his individual right to choose," Marks said. "Currently, the choice restricts his ability to be a full-time member of the team, and we will not permit any member of our team to participate with part-time availability. It is imperative that we continue to build chemistry as a team and remain true to our long-established values of togetherness and sacrifice.
"Our championship goals for the season have not changed, and to achieve these goals, each member of our organization must pull in the same direction."
Irving, 29, currently can't play in Nets home games at Barclays Center due to New York City's COVID-19 vaccine mandate. The same mandate initially prohibited him from joining his teammates at the team's practice facility until New York City officials classified the venue as a private official building.
New York City currently requires any attendees at professional sports arenas - including local employees - to show proof of receiving at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Irving is reportedly unvaccinated. He refused to disclose his vaccination status during Nets media day, which he attended remotely. Irving's vaccine holdout isn't an anti-science stance, but rather a way to communicate his dissatisfaction regarding people losing their jobs over vaccine mandates, reports The Athletic's Shams Charania.
He did participate in an open practice with the team Saturday at Brooklyn Bridge Park, though he wore a mask during the outdoor event, a move not required under the city's vaccination mandate.
The seven-time All-Star hasn't participated in Brooklyn's three preseason contests thus far, including road games against the Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers. The Nets' final preseason game is Thursday at home against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Brooklyn will host the Milwaukee Bucks for the 2021-22 season's curtain-raiser on Oct. 19.
San Francisco and Los Angeles have enacted vaccination requirements similar to New York City's; Golden State Warriors wing Andrew Wiggins was set to be ineligible for home games at San Francisco's Chase Center but received authorization after being vaccinated.