Irving stands to lose $380,000 for every home game — totaling $17 million for the season.

 


 

With time running out for Kyrie Irving to obtain full eligibility for the regular season by getting vaccinated against the coronavirus, the Brooklyn Nets acknowledged that their all-star guard will be unavailable for more than half of games this season because of New York City’s vaccine mandate.

 

Nets Coach Steve Nash said Sunday that Irving’s status remains unresolved. “I think we recognize that he’s not playing home games,” said Nash, whose Nets are a leading title favorite. “We’re going to have to play without him this year. So it just depends on when, where and how much.”

 

While the NBA doesn’t have a vaccine mandate for players, certain cities, including New York and San Francisco, have enacted rules that require vaccination for members of home teams in those markets. Irving, if he remains unvaccinated, would be ineligible for Brooklyn’s 41 home games at Barclays Center and its two road games against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden.

 

Per NBA rules, players must be two weeks removed from their final shot to be considered vaccinated. Brooklyn’s regular season home opener is slated for Oct. 24 against the Charlotte Hornets, meaning Irving would have needed to receive the shot by Sunday to be eligible.

 

Irving would be able to play in Brooklyn’s road games without receiving the vaccine as long as he abides by the NBA’s strict health protocols, which would require him to undergo regular testing, avoid eating with his teammates and steer clear of public socializing at bars and clubs, among other restrictions.

 

The NBA announced last month that unvaccinated players will be fined if they are unable to play in games because of vaccine mandates, which could cost Irving roughly $380,000 per game — or more than $16 million of his $34.9 million annual salary. National Basketball Players Association Executive Director Michele Roberts said last week that the union “did not agree” to the league’s pay reduction plan.

 

While Irving hasn’t conducted interviews with reporters since Brooklyn’s media day Sept. 27, he participated in Nets training camp, which was held in San Diego, and attended — but did not play in — the team’s preseason opener against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center.

 

Irving had been barred from practicing with his teammates at the Nets Training Center in Brooklyn until authorities ruled Friday that the practice facility was a “private office building” and thus exempt from the mandate.

 

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