Steve Nash on Kyrie Irving: Nets 'Recognize He's Not Playing Home Games'

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVOctober 10, 2021

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 03: Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets during a pre season game against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on October 3, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

The Brooklyn Nets now expect Kyrie Irving to miss at least half of the team's regular-season games due to his vaccination status.

"I think we recognize he's not playing home games," head coach Steve Nash told reporters Sunday. "We're going to have to for sure play without him this year. So it just depends on when, where and how much."

New York City laws require a COVID-19 vaccine to take part in games within the city in 2021-22. Irving also wasn't able to practice with the team, but he was cleared to take part after officials determined the facility was a private office building, per Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic.

Irving refused to disclose his vaccination status during media day last month, saying he wanted to keep the information "private."

The point guard is under contract for $35.3 million this season, which means he will lose about $380,000 for every home game he misses due to protocols, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Brian Windhorst.

Irving will also be ineligible to play road games against the New York Knicks, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers this season due to restrictions within the cities.

It puts the Nets in a difficult spot, especially with the player's agent saying he would retire if traded, per Nick Wright of Fox Sports.

Nash's comments indicate the team will simply move forward without Irving when he isn't eligible to play.

The 29-year-old is an impact player on the court, earning seven All-Star selections over his 10-year career. He averaged 26.9 points and 6.0 assists per game in 54 appearances in 2020-21.

Brooklyn still has other offensive weapons if Irving cannot play, notably Kevin Durant and James Harden. The two other stars have a combined seven scoring titles and should be able to pick up the slack when Irving is unavailable.     


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