Nets’ Kyrie Irving, unvaxxed NBAers facing hefty pay cuts: report

Kyrie Irving Nets
Kyrie Irving
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving and other unvaccinated members are facing a 1/91.6 reduction of a player’s salary for each game he misses because of local COVID-19 vaccine protocols, according to a report by ESPN’s Tim Bontemps and Bobby Marks.

The NBA and NBA Players Association have agreed to the pay reduction which will not provide any sort of luxury tax relief to teams despite paying a player less money.

As of Monday, New York City and San Francisco are the only cities that have instituted COVID-19 mandates that require vaccinations to enter their arenas. To gain access to the court at Madison Square Garden or Barclays Center, a player needs proof of at least one COVID-19 shot. Meanwhile, full vaccinations are required to gain entry into Chase Center in San Francisco.

It prompted Golden State Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins — who was not vaccinated — to get the vaccine, leaving Irving as the only known unvaccinated player.

Should Irving not receive the vaccine, he would lose $380,000 for every game he is not allowed to partake in — that includes 41 home games at Barclays Center, two at Madison Square Garden against the Knicks, and one in San Francisco against the Warriors. If the issue continues for the entire season, that means he could lose up to approximately $15 million.

After not attending media day last week because it was held at Barclays Center, Irving traveled to San Diego to train with his Nets teammates — but the focus remains on his availability for a 2021-22 season that tabs Brooklyn as a sizable favorite to win the NBA title.

“I know the focus has to be at an all-time high, no distractions,” Irving said last week. “This is the last thing I wanted to create, was more distractions and more hoopla, and more drama around this. I’m doing my best to maintain this with good intentions and a good heart.”

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