Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

Nets not committing to using Kyrie Irving as part-time player rest of season

2021 NBA Playoffs - Brooklyn Nets v Milwaukee Bucks

MILWAUKEE, WI - JUNE 13: Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets looks on during Round 2, Game 4 of the 2021 NBA Playoffs on June 13 2021 at the Fiserv Forum Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images).

NBAE via Getty Images

The Brooklyn Nets are allowing Kyrie Irving to do what they once said they wouldn’t: Be a part-time player.

When deciding to sit unvaccinated Irving – who’s prohibited from playing home games by New York City’s vaccine mandate – for road games, Net general manager Sean Marks primarily cited chemistry. It’s difficult to build chemistry with a star in and out of the lineup.

But Brooklyn has had so many coronavirus problems, continuity is out the window, anyway. It’s not even clear when Irving, who had a positive or inconclusive test, will be cleared to play.

Ideally, though, this rash of coronavirus cases will be a temporary predicament. This wave could recede later in the NBA season.

Mark W. Sanchez of the New York Post:

What if the “current circumstances” change, the Nets’ health improves and they continue to have a star who refuses to get vaccinated and plays only in half their games?

Marks would not affirm that Irving would be around the Nets for the remainder of the season and postseason

“That’s a little bit of a hypothetical,” the general manager said. “I don’t know what’s around the corner.”

This is hypothetical for multiple reasons.

Maybe the Nets will never get healthy enough to develop strong chemistry. It’ll depend how coronavirus spreads, policies on handling the virus and luck.

Maybe Irving will get vaccinated. He has said he’s not against the vaccine. Perhaps, he’ll enjoy playing and being around the team so much that he gets a vaccine that allows him to continue playing (and is generally safe and keeps him and those around him safer).

Of course, that could go the other way. Irving got permission to return without being vaccinated. That could embolden him to maintain his stance if the Nets hold him out again.

As Marks said, we really don’t know what’s around the corner.