Brooklyn Nets superstar point guard Kyrie Irving isn’t budging from his stance on the COVID-19 vaccine, which continues to extend his season-long absence from the floor at Barclays Center.
On Thursday, NBA insider Shams Charania appeared on the Pat McAfee show to confirm that Irving is “nowhere closer to getting the vaccine and he’s not going to play basketball unless he gets traded.”
The Nets made the decision to keep Irving completely away from the team heading into the 2021-22 NBA season after New York passed COVID-19 protocols that forbade any unvaccinated person from working or attending events inside major sporting arenas — such as Madison Square Garden and Barclays Center.
It was originally believed that the only way Irving would see the floor was if he received the vaccine — which looks less and less likely with each passing day — or if New York lifts its protocols; another unlikely scenario.
But Charania’s mention of a possible trade comes from rumblings around the NBA. According to multiple reports over the last month, the Nets continue to entertain trade calls involving Irving but are not pursuing them.
It remains to be seen just how robust his market is, but the 29-year-old is a seven-time All-Star and one of the premier point guards in the entire NBA that could hit the court if he’s shipped to almost any other team whose home state has more lenient COVID protocols.
But issues tend to follow Irving everywhere he goes — whether it’s vaccines or relationships with teammates, coaches, or management. And the unspoken consensus is that there has to be some form of frustration cropping up within the Nets’ ranks.
Would it be enough to trade him? Only if the team is wooed by the proper deal.
Regardless of Irving’s absence, Kevin Durant and James Harden are doing just fine holding things down in Brooklyn. Entering Thursday night’s action, the Nets held a 1.5-game lead for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.