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Steve Nash: Nets would welcome back Kyrie Irving, even if unvaccinated, if New York mandate changes

New York City mayor-elect Eric Adams

TOPSHOT - New York City Democratic Mayor-elect Eric Adams gestures to supporters during his 2021 election victory night party at the Brooklyn Marriott on November 2, 2021 in New York City. - Ex-policeman Eric Adams was elected New York City’s next mayor and will become just the second African American to lead the United States’s largest city. (Photo by ANGELA WEISS / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)

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Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai said he hopes Kyrie Irving – who’s missing home games due to New York City’s vaccine mandate and road games/practice due to the team’s decision – “gets vaccinated as soon as possible.”

But there’s another potential path for Irving to play.

Asked on MSNBC about “the vaccine mandates among city employees, police and fire,” New York City mayor-elect Eric Adams said, “We need to revisit how we are going to address the vaccine mandates,” adding he’s encouraging New York mayor Bill de Blasio to meet with the unions. That obviously doesn’t directly apply to Irving. But if public employees are no longer required to be vaccinated, that makes it even more difficult for the government to justify a vaccine mandate that effectively requires employees of a private company to be vaccinated.

Especially when the private company is probably keeping the employee away only because of the city mandate.


Nets coach Steve Nash:

I might be speaking out of turn, but I think if the mandate changes, he’d be welcome back for sure.

Remember, Nash talked about the possibility of bringing Irving off the bench just before the organization shut down the guard completely. He might be speaking out of turn. Tsai, general manager Sean Marks and franchise player Kevin Durant will have say.

But the players’ union fought off a vaccine mandate from the NBA. No team is known to have unilaterally held out a player because he’s unvaccinated. It’d be shocking if the Nets took that step.

Speculation about Adams’ plan could backfire for the Nets. It’s unclear what Adams will do. He won’t take office until January, anyway. The threat of coronavirus could change by then. Even if Adams rescinds the mandate for public employees, that doesn’t mean he’ll necessarily change the rules pertaining to Brooklyn’s arena. Laws aren’t always logical.

Irving has sounded open to getting vaccinated. If he waits for a change to the mandate that isn’t actually imminent, that might delay his return to the team even further.

But there’s at least some reason to suspect a door could open that gets Irving back onto the court.

You know, besides the door of Irving choosing to get a vaccine that is generally safe and makes people less likely to contract, spread and have severe outcomes from coronavirus.