Sources told ESPN that the Brooklyn Nets are still unsure about Kyrie Irving, All-Star guard, and whether they will allow him to play as a part of their team this season.
Sources told ESPN that there was optimism that Irving would be vaccinated and meet local government mandates, allowing him to play and practice in New York. However, that hope is now fading and Irving's resistance to vaccination means that the Nets are now preparing for the possibility of Irving being absent for home practices and games.
Sources said that Irving could be denied vaccination and the Nets will soon have to decide whether Irving can come and play with them in New York or keep him out.
Irving has been supported by the Nets in his decision to consider vaccination. They believe they have listened, supported, and educated him. However, the Nets' collective patience will be tested if Irving does not commit to joining the team full-time.
The Nets believe that they are still a contender for the championship with a roster built around Kevin Durant, James Harden, and may have to make difficult decisions about Irving's future if he is not vaccinated or unable to play at the Barclays Center and Madison Square Garden.
Irving could be subject to game checks of around $380,000 if he fails to attend a home game due the protocol, which began with Friday's preseason game against the Milwaukee Bucks. Irving, 29 years old, is currently under contract for $35.3million this season.
Steve Nash, Nets coach, stated that Irving was unable to practice Tuesday in Brooklyn. He also said that the team would not be considering moving practices outside of New York. Only one day of the remainder of the preseason will see the team away from home -- Monday to play at Philadelphia. Irving will no longer be allowed to practice with the team or play for the team for 10 consecutive days.
Unvaccinated Irving could pose a challenge to the Nets during the regular season. Irving would have to be away from his team for eleven days after a six-game homestead starts the second week. This is a scenario that will be repeated for different lengths. The Nets are home for 20 of the 26 days in November and December.