Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai is hoping that Kyrie Irving will get a COVID-19 vaccine as quickly as possible.
In a sit-down interview with ESPN, Tsai said that he hasn’t spoken with Irving since the announcement of its unavailability.
“Last time [I] talked to him was when we made the decision that he was not going to be playing until something changes. We haven’t communicated since then.”
The businessman added that it was a team decision to shelve the seven-time All-star to pave a way for their winning aspirations, and as such, they truly respect his belief.
“Obviously Kyrie has his own belief so I respect that. But we have to make a team decision. This is not a decision about him. This is a decision about where we go as a team. And it is just not tenable for us to have a team with a player that comes in and out, no home games, only away games. What do you do in practice then?
“This week we have a whole stretch of six home games, so we won’t have Kyrie. So it became pretty clear to us. We are very much aligned among myself, [GM] Sean [Marks], coaching staff that this has to be [the decision], especially since we’re a team with pretty lofty aspirations. We don’t see any other way of running this team.”
Still, Tsai and the Nets are hopeful for Irving to get vaccinated as soon as possible, and to be positioned in their long-term plans in the future. As such, they will always welcome the crafty guard when it finally decides to play.
“I hope that Kyrie can be part of the team, part of Brooklyn long term. But I am not going to get into the extension thing. I think we have an immediate question of whether he can play this season, and I hope he gets vaccinated as soon as possible.”
Due to the New York City mandate, Irving remains ineligible to play as it requires every professional player to get vaccinated before playing in any in-door places within the vicinity. Irving stated last October 13 in an Instagram live that he chose to be unvaccinated and asks for people’s respect on that decision.
“I chose to be unvaccinated, and that was my choice, and I would ask you all to just respect that choice,” Irving said. “I am going to just continue to stay in shape, be ready to play, be ready to rock out with my teammates and just be part of this whole thing. This is not a political thing; this is not about the NBA, not about any organization. This is about my life and what I am choosing to do.”
As the Nets are currently 2-3 in record, the presence of Kevin Durant and James Harden will always be relied upon. Time will tell when the trio will be complete — ready to blaze for a title run as clear favorites to win it all.