If the Nets’ season started today, Kyrie Irving would be sidelined.
The superstar guard has not been vaccinated against COVID-19, according to Fox Sports, and therefore would not eligible to practice or play games in Brooklyn under New York City’s vaccine mandate. Earlier this month, the NBA told teams it would have to abide by COVID-19 vaccine mandates in their home cities. In New York, nobody over the age of 12 is allowed to enter “certain covered premises” without proof of at least one dose of a vaccination unless given an approved medical or religious exemption.
Irving was photographed Sept. 12 at a WNBA game in Los Angeles between the Sparks and Seattle Storm. California requires attendees at indoor “mega-events” of over 1,000 people either to be fully vaccinated or to have received a negative COVID-19 test result.
Nets general manager Sean Marks was asked by reporters Tuesday whether some players would be unable to participate due to the vaccine mandate, and he suggested a few would not be able to do so if the season were set to start that day.
“Regarding if they could play today, I can’t comment on who could play and so forth. There would obviously be a couple people missing from that picture,” Marks said. “I won’t get into who it is, but we feel confident in the following several days before camp everybody would be allowed to participate and so forth.”
Asked if that means that everyone will be vaccinated, Marks said that was correct.
“Obviously, I can’t get into details for a variety of reasons, whether it’s HIPAA violations or whatever it may be,” he said. “I think we all understand what’s at stake. We’ve had very candid conversations. Those are individual decisions, whether a staff member or player has to come to terms with it. It’s obviously out of our control.
“We are supporting getting the vaccination and putting out a healthy squad and so at this point we’re ready to go into the season. We don’t see — whether it’s a citywide mandate or it’s the league mandate to follow — being any sort of hindrance to us being able to put out a team.”
The clock is ticking on Irving. The Nets will hold media day on Monday, then travel to California for training camp in La Jolla beginning Tuesday, before their preseason opener against the Lakers on Oct. 3. They will play their first home preseason game at Barclays Center on Oct. 8. At the moment, Irving would not be allowed to play in that game.