Nets Owner On When Kyrie Will Play Again: ‘I Don’t Know’

As Kyrie Irving sits out of games due to being unvaccinated, Nets owner Joseph Tsai doesn’t sound confident the all-star guard will return to the team anytime soon.

In a sit-down interview with ESPN, Tsai said he wasn’t sure when Irving will play again.

“I don’t know,” Tsai said. “Either he has to be vaccinated in order to come back if the New York mandate is still in place. And don’t ask me when they may or may not change the New York mandate. Again, if you ask the people that are making decisions at the city level, they are going to say we are going to rely on science, rely on what the health department tells us [in order to proceed].”

Irving, 29, has been outspoken on refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine, most notably in an Instagram live video earlier this month. In the video, Irving said it was bigger than basketball, a decision he’s made based on research he’s conducted.

The Nets, meanwhile, are refusing to let Irving play until he’s fully committed to doing so. That would mean either Irving gets vaccinated, or New York eases up on its mandate which states that only the vaccinated can attend large, indoor gatherings.

“Last time [I] talked to him was when we made the decision that he was not going to be playing until something changes,” Tsai said. “We haven’t communicated since then. 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?”

Without Irving on the floor, the Nets have looked vulnerable. A 3-3 start has been underwhelming and star forward Kevin Durant even admitted that the team misses Irving.

“I know what you want me to say,” said Durant, after the Nets’ 106-93 loss to the Heat on Wednesday. “Yeah, we do miss Kyrie. We do. He’s a part of our team.”

Written by Nick Geddes

Nick Geddes is a 2021 graduate of the University of Central Florida with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism. A life-long sports enthusiast, Nick shares a passion for sports writing and is proud to represent OutKick.

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