Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Lakers assistant Phil Handy recently spoke up in Kyrie Irving’s defense regarding his vaccine status, as it’s still unclear if the Nets superstar took the jab ahead of the new NBA season.

On Wednesday, the NBA released a statement, claiming “any player who elects not to comply with local vaccination mandates will not be paid for games that he misses.”

Various teams have not yet reached a 100 percent vaccination status, as various cities in the United States, including New York and Los Angeles, constrain citywide mandates.

Irving has preferred to keep his vaccination status private:

“Honestly, I’d like to keep that stuff private. I’m a human being first. Obviously, living in this public sphere it’s just a lot of questions about what’s going on in the world of Kyrie.

“I think I just would love to just keep that private, handle it the right way with my team and go forward together with the plan,” Irving told reporters over Zoom, per Nets Daily.

Handy worked with Irving for several seasons, as he was Kyrie’s assistant coach on the Cleveland Cavaliers when they completed a historic 3-1 deficit to win the NBA title in 2016.

“Ky is one of those dudes that is very private. He’s very private and his circle is very small and he’s not a guy that really extends himself a lot to people that he doesn’t know. Kind of like Kawhi,” the three-time champion told Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson of Bally Sports.

“Until you actually get to know Kyrie, you’re going to get a lot of speculation. He’s going to say some stuff & certain things, but people don’t understand maybe what’s the context behind it or where he’s coming from…

“I tell people all the time that if you don’t know someone, you probably shouldn’t speak on him,” the Lakers’ assistant concluded.