Nets say Kyrie Irving won’t play until he’s a ‘full participant’, no idea playing road games exclusively
The Brooklyn Nets have made a major decision regarding Kyrie Irving’s status for the 2021-22 NBA season. On Tuesday, the team announced that Irving would not be allowed to serve as a part-time player and therefore would not be allowed to train with the team or participate in road games while ‘he would not be a “full participant” and eligible to play in home matches.
Nets general manager Sean Marks issued the following statement regarding the situation:
Given the evolving nature of the situation and after much deliberation, we have decided that Kyrie Irving will not play or train with the team until he is eligible to be a full participant. Kyrie made a personal choice and we respect her individual right to choose. Currently, the choice restricts his ability to be a full-time member of the team, and we will not allow any member of our team to participate with part-time availability.
It is imperative that we continue to build chemistry as a team and stay true to our long-established values of unity and sacrifice. Our championship goals for the season have not changed, and to achieve those goals every member of our organization must shoot in the same direction. We are excited about the start of the season and look forward to a successful campaign that will bring pride to the Borough of Brooklyn.
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After the announcement, Marks held a press conference during which he explicitly expressed that the All-Star point guard is not vaccinated, saying “If he was vaccinated, we wouldn’t be having this discussion.” Marks also reiterated that Irving will lose money for every home game he can’t play, according to a deal made between the league and the union.
When asked how the Nets came to the decision to bar Irving from participating in practices and away games, Marks said he and team owner Joe Tsai were the final decision makers.
“This process, as I think you all know pretty well, has been going on for quite some time now and we’ve gathered all the information here,” Marks said. “And I think that’s a decision that Joe Tsai and I finally made. As always, we’re involving a lot of people in this matter, but that decision is up to both of us and that’s what’s best. for the organization at this point. “
Given New York’s COVID-19 regulations, Irving is not allowed to play games in Brooklyn until he is vaccinated. Despite being cleared to train with the Nets in New York, the Nets clearly aren’t interested in having him available for only half of the games this season, or the distraction that would inevitably come from. such a situation, something that Marks echoed during his press conference.
“I think we all know what our goal is this year and how a decision like this can affect that ultimate goal,” said Marks. “So it’s never easy decisions, but at the end of the day I think we’re looking to put a bunch of people out there who can fully participate. And that’s what it boils down to, and we do not look for partners who are going to be part-time.
“I don’t think it would be fair, not only to the team, the staff, the property and the fans, but, to be quite frank, not fair to Kyrie either. When you put someone there- low who potentially can’t get the right ups and ups etc, and look as good as he or the team should under different circumstances, which is why this decision has finally been taken. “
It’s no secret that the Nets want Irving to be 100% available to the organization and his teammates. Nets star forward Kevin Durant shared that sentiment last week.
“We want him to be here for everything,” Durant said of Irving. “We want it here for games, home games, practices, away games, shootarounds, all that, so hopefully we find a solution.”
Marks said all players are aware these conversations are ongoing regarding Irving’s status with the team entering the season, so it’s probably not surprising to fellow superstars Durant and James Harden that the front office made this decision.
As for Irving’s longer-term future with the franchise, Marks didn’t want to talk about the possibility of trading the seven-time All-Star, as the Nets are still hoping Irving can join the team at one. given time during the season.
When asked if the league had been consulted about the move, or if the Nets expected a reaction from the Players Association, Marks left him pretty open.
“All parties that needed to be consulted on this were,” Marks said. “Will there be a step back from Kyrie and her camp? You know I’m sure it’s not a decision they like, and Kyrie likes to play basketball, wants to be there, wants to participate with his teammates, but again, that’s a choice Kyrie had. And he was well aware of that. Again, we had several conversations about this. I think the conversations were good. They were very clear. and clearly described and that is where we are now today. “
The ball is now literally in Irving’s court. The Nets open the regular season on the road against defending champion Milwaukee Bucks on October 19, so he still technically has time to get back with the squad and not have to miss out on a lot of action. The question everyone is asking themselves now in the league landscape is if and when he will.