Sport Kyrie Irving Could Guarantee A Nets Title Run—or Derail One
Report: Kyrie Irving’s agents saying Irving would retire if Nets trade him
Very real: Ben Simmons wants a trade from the 76ers, who are shopping him (slowly). © Provided by NBC Sports Less real: Simmons to the Nets for Kyrie Irving. That idea has gained attention merely as a hypothetical, popularized by Nick Wright of Fox Sports and David Thorpe of TrueHoop. Considering Brooklyn has Kevin Durant and James Harden as scorers, it’s interesting to ponder whether Simmons would help the Nets more than Irving does. Simmons’ passing, defense and health could add more value in Brooklyn than Irving – an overall superior player – provides.
The Nets star refused to discuss his vaccination status during media day, calling it a personal matter.
From the player who brought you aand a , Kyrie Irving Productions brings you this: Unvaccinated, the story of how one player could derail Brooklyn’s championship season.
Irving wasn’t present at theMonday. Not physically, anyway. New York laws prevent unvaccinated individuals from entering certain buildings. The Barclays Center is one of them. Two hours into group interviews, long after Kevin Durant and James Harden had left the dais, Irving popped up on a screen, Zooming in from his home in New Jersey.
Kyrie Irving following and liking conspiracy theories about COVID-19 vaccines
Irving, who serves as a vice president on the executive committee of th e players’ union, recently started following and liking Instagram posts from a conspiracy theorist who claims that “secret societies” are implanting vaccines in a plot to connect Black people to a master computer for “a plan of Satan.” This Moderna microchip misinformation campaign has spread across multiple NBA locker rooms and group chats, according to several of the dozen-plus current players, Hall-of-Famers, league executives, arena workers and virologists interviewed for this story over the past week.
Irving was asked:
“I like to keep that stuff private,” Irving said. “I’m a human being first. Obviously living in this public sphere, there’s a lot of questions about what’s going on in the world of Kyrie, and I think I would love to keep that private and handle it the right way with my team and go forward together with a plan. Obviously I’m not able to be present there today, but that doesn’t mean I’m putting any limits on the future for me being able to join the team.”
Later, Irving was asked whether he expects to play in home games this season.
“Again, I would like to keep all that private,” Irving said. “Please just respect my privacy. All the questions kind of leading into what’s happening, please, everything will be released at a due date once we get this cleared up. As of right now, please respect my privacy.”
NBA fantasy draft: Picking teams featuring prime Lakers, Nets stars
We held a fantasy draft featuring the prime versions of 13 All-Stars currently on the Lakers and Nets. Where did some of the NBA's biggest stars land on the draft board?In total, the two teams enter the 2021-22 season with 13 players who have been named an All-Star at least once in their NBA careers. The Lakers have a combined 57 All-Star selections on their roster, which just so happens to be the most in NBA history. The Nets, meanwhile, have a combined 44 All-Star selections, putting them behind only these Lakers and the 2010-11 Celtics (56) on the all-time list.
Look—medical decisions are personal. And often should be private. But this is different. Unless the law changes, an unvaccinated player for a New York team, like Irving,. That means Irving cannot play in Brooklyn’s 41 home games. He would presumably also be ineligible for the two games the Nets play at Madison Square Garden. An All-Star point guard could miss more than half the season.
These aren’t medical questions.
They are basketball questions.
And Irving owes everyone answers.
Monday should have been a good day in Brooklyn.. Kevin Durant, two years removed from a torn Achilles, . James Harden, a volume scorer over eight-plus seasons in Houston, s . The trio of Durant, Harden and Irving is the most dynamic combination since Durant paired with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson in Golden State—maybe better. Blake Griffin returned, forced a brief retirement before the playoffs last season, Paul Millsap and Patty Mills have hopped onboard while Bruce Brown and Cam Thomas bring a little youth and energy off the bench.
Report: Nets losing confidence Kyrie Irving will get vaccinated
Nets general manager Sean Marks said he was confident all Brooklyn players would meet New York City's vaccine mandate as training camp opened. © Provided by NBC Sports But the Nets returned to practice in Brooklyn today, and Kyrie Irving – who’s reportedly unvaccinated – didn’t participate. If he remains unvaccinated without an exemption, he won’t be allowed to play Nets home games.
Without him … who knows?
Teammates didn’t look comfortable discussing Irving’s status Monday. “I expect it [not to be an issue],” said Durant. “That’s on Kyrie. That’s his personal decision. What he does is not on us to speculate on what may happen. But we trust in Kyrie. I expect us to have our whole team at some point.” Harden said less, suggesting reporters bring it up with Irving, adding, “Obviously, Kyrie is a huge part of what we do.”
Indeed. On the court, Irving remains a terror. He averaged 27 points in 54 games last season. He shot a career-best 50.6% from the floor. He eclipsed 40% from three for the fourth time in his last five seasons. Irving played just 202 minutes over eight games with Durant and Harden, but in that time the Nets posted an offensive rating of 119.6, outscoring opponents by 7.2 points per 100 possessions during that stretch.
Last season, Harden warned of “scary hours” for the rest of the league.
“It’s even scarier,” Harden said.
That depends on Irving. The Nets don’t need Irving. Durant, Harden and Brooklyn’s depth alone makes them arguably the top team in the conference. And remember—without Irving,from sending Milwaukee home in the second round.
James Harden on Kyrie Irving: ‘I want him to be on the team, of course’
The Nets go into Friday night’s game vs. the defending NBA champion Bucks with a clean bill of health other than Kyrie Irving who has been ruled ineligible to play because he’s in violation of New York City’s COVID-19 regulations. He’s not been vaccinated so he can’t play. Of course, he couldn’t practice either this week for the same reason. And so, it would appear the Nets current controversy will carry on for at least another day. There’s nothing to say that Irving won’t suddenly change his mind and get the one shot he needs to play, practice or participate in team activities.
But Irving can’t be a distraction. He can’t play in half the games this season. He can’t force his teammates to talk about him every day. Irving knows it. “The last thing I wanted to create was more hoopla and more distractions,” Irving said. But he has. The question is—what is he going to do about it?
Last week, Nets GM Sean Marks said he didn’t expect New York’s vaccine law to be “any sort of hindrance” to the team. “We feel confident that in the following several days before camp, everybody will be allowed to participate and participate fully.” But camp is here. And Irving is not. The Nets will head to San Diego for the first week before playing an exhibition game in Los Angeles on Sunday. (Irving is expected to join the team then,.) On Oct. 8, they will play the Bucks at the Barclays Center. If Irving is vaccinated, he will play. If he isn’t, he can’t.
More thanare vaccinated. But the ones that aren’t appear dug in. Andrew Wiggins, the Warriors forward who is in the same situation Irving is due to San Francisco’s vaccination laws, . Bradley Beal, who lost out on an opportunity to play for USA Basketball last summer because of COVID-19, . “I would ask the question to those who are getting vaccinated,” Beal said, “why are you still getting COVID?”
Kyrie Irving cleared to practice at Nets facility
Privately, some team and league officials have expressed optimism Irving will get vaccinated. But this is Irving. Heand a JFK conspiracy theorist who has parroted the theory that the CIA attempted to kill Bob Marley. You would think a $35 million salary and a chance to win a championship would be enough for Irving to get a jab of a vaccine billions have safely received. But no one really knows how far Irving will take this.
If he gets vaccinated, this story is vapor. The focus will return to the Nets, on a potentially historically good offense, on a team that could bring the superteam era roaring back. If he doesn’t, it’s a disaster. Irving is virtually untradeable. Utilizing him in only road games seems untenable. Keeping the focus on basketball would appear impossible. Irving could help begin a championship era in Brooklyn. Or he could stall one before it starts.
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