The Brooklyn Nets made a bold decision this week, choosing not to allow Kyrie Irving to play in any games unless he gets vaccinated. Due to a New York City mandate for indoor events and activities, Irving will not be allowed to play in games at the Barclays Center as of now.
Rather than allow for Irving to play in about half of the team’s games this season, the Nets have shut him down while he remains unvaccinated, a decision that makes sense for team continuity. All involved have said that they remain hopeful that Irvin can join the team this season.
General manager Sean Marks made the announcement, saying that the team respects Irving’s rights, but will be moving forward without him for the time being. Many have wondered how fellow superstars Kevin Durant, who signed in Brooklyn to play with Irving, and James Harden feel about that decision. According to a new quote from Harden, it sounds like they were pretty keyed in on the situation.
“We all had conversations. Sean, Steve (Nash, Nets head coach), me, KD, Kyrie, we all had conversations,” Harden said, via CBS Sports’ James Herbert. “Kyrie believes in his beliefs, and he stands firm and strong on that. And for us, we respect it. We all love Ky.”
"We just gotta focus on the guys in this locker room that are here…that's all we can control"
James Harden on Kyrie Irving not being with the Nets: pic.twitter.com/wXCCDv8qjj
— Nets Videos (@SNYNets) October 13, 2021
“But as far as us, we have a job to do. And individually, myself, I’m still wanting to set myself up for championship,” Harden continued.
“And I feel like the entire organization is on the same path and we’re all a collective unit. So we’ll keep pushing forward and we’ll try to do our best every single day to get better and keep going as a collective unit.”
If Kevin Durant and James Harden, both of whom are vaccinated and ready to play, remain healthy this year, the Brooklyn Nets may still be the NBA Title favorites without Irving. The team signed veteran point guard Patty Mills this offseason, and Harden has plenty of experience playing high-level point guard as well.
With Kyrie Irving, their offensive firepower goes to a new, potentially historic level.
Irving hasn’t ruled out getting vaccinated, but is supposedly concerned with mandates across the country that have caused some Americans to lose their jobs, per a report by Shams Charania of The Athletic that caused a minor firestorm on Tuesday. We’ll see if he changes gears in time for the regular season, which begins next Tuesday.