Brooklyn Nets head coach Steve Nash has acknowledged that the team is preparing not to have star guard Kyrie Irving for home games this season. Irving hasn't been vaccinated and he doesn't want to get vaccinated, while New York City's COVID-19 vaccine mandate requires a person to have proof of at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot to enter indoor gyms.
"We recognize he's not playing in home games," Nash told reporters after Irving practiced with the team in Brooklyn for the first time this preseason, per ESPN. "We are going to have to for sure play without him this year.
So it just depends on when, where and how much." Nash says the picture will be much clearer later this week. "We are just starting to navigate this," Nash told reporters Sunday. "A new rule comes in Friday and here we are.
We are trying to look at the big picture. The near term, right now I am not sure we have as many answers. "I think right now we assume he's not going to be available for home games, but anything can change. Who's to say? The city ordinances could change.
Anything could change. Right now we are just trying to remain flexible, open-minded and figure it out as we go because information is coming in by like the half-day here. ... We found out Friday he can come back in the building.
Things are shifting. No one's been through this before, and we are just trying to figure it out as we go."
Irving would like to keep his vaccination status private
“Again, I would like to keep all of that private.
Please just respect my privacy. Just all of the questions leading into what’s happening — please, everything will get released at a due date once we get this cleared up. As of right now, please respect my privacy regarding anything — home games, what’s happening, and vaccination," Irving said two weeks ago.
Nets big man Blake Griffin insists the team will support Irving with whatever he decides. "It's not something we, I have experienced before," power forward Griffin said of what the Nets will do if Irving cannot play in home games.
"Whatever he decides, whatever the team decides, whatever agreement we come to or whatever happens, we are just going to support him. When he is here, we can use him. He's amazing. I'm not even going to waste time trying to wrap my head around something that I don't know the situation yet. We will adjust and act accordingly."