Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving is currently a part-time player in the NBA as a result of New York City’s COVID guidelines that prohibit entry into Barclays Center for the unvaccinated Irving.
As it stands, New York state officials continue to hold Irving hostage for being unvaccinated. However, his imminent return to full-time work appears to be in talks between the Nets and officials.
According to reports on Wednesday, New York City’s mandatory proof of vaccination rule for patrons of indoor establishments may be bending if Irving and the Nets pay up a fine for every home game appearance.
New York City’s proposed fine structure for Irving’s services goes as follows:
First offense: Warning
Second offense: $1,000 fine
Third offense: $2,000 fine
Fourth offense and onward: $5,000 fine
Twenty-one remaining Brooklyn home games net the total fine for Kyrie’s services at $100,000.
This season, the 29-year-old vet has missed 19 home games (29 total) over being unvaccinated.
Irving was ultimately activated as the Nets roster had a wave of cases clear the benches — ruling out nearly 10 players at one point, including James Harden and Kevin Durant, due to the NBA’s testing strategy.
Averaging 22 points in his first two games back, Irving’s immediate contributions to the Nets (25-14) have factored into an outlook on a postseason run, along with Irving’s leadership bumping overall morale inside the franchise.
Much like New York’s inconsistent ruling of the vaccine mandate, the Nets’ brain trust has flip-flopped on the Irving matter all year.
During preseason forecasts, Irving was expected to only miss home games at Barclays until team governor Joe Tsai and general manager Sean Marks legislated a strict stance on unvaccinated players.
According to Tsai and Marks, Irving would be banned from all team activities, citing their hopes for the player to get vaccinated as a solution.
Kyrie never caved to the demands, and once the NBA started signing 10-day contracts faster than Ray Allen’s stroke, Brooklyn turned to its seven-time All-Star guard and approved his return for all contests not restricted by mandatory vaccination — ruling out contests in Los Angeles and home games for the Warriors.
With the limited time seen between the Nets’ All-Star cast since the Houston Rockets first sent James Harden to Brooklyn, fans should expect Nets brass to fork over Kyrie’s game to game premium the second New York state officials can relay their details for a wire transfer.
The Nets will face off against the East’s No. 1 seeded Bulls on Wednesday, with Irving present for the starting lineup from Chicago’s United Center.
Follow along on Twitter: @AlejandroAveela