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Kyrie Irving gets fined, loses salary for birthday party, won’t return Saturday

Kyire Irving New Jersey Nets Jersey Unveiling Photo by Jennifer Pottheiser/NBAE via Getty Images

It turned out to be one expensive birthday party.

Kyrie Irving has been fined $50,000 and will lose two games worth of salary — roughly $820,000 — for missed games this week following an NBA review of a birthday party he threw for his sister and father last weekend in West Orange, NJ. Video of the party showed up online Tuesday, prompting the review by both the NBA and team.

Although early reports suggested Irving could play Saturday vs. the Magic, Malika Andrews of ESPN tweeted later that the guard will not play...

Irving, of course, hasn’t played since last week, with the team stating he’s on “personal leave.” Although Irving has not explained his absence, reports indicate that he had been upset with white supremacists assault on the U.S. Capitol ... and the obvious disparity with their treatment vs. that accorded unarmed black people, specifically Breonna Taylor, killed by Louisville police in March. Sean Marks has said that Irving will have “an opportunity to address his absence when he is ready to do so.”

Shams Charania and Malika Andrews were first to report the news. Here’s the official NBA statement.

The salary loss for the two games, Marc Stein, reports amounts to $820,000, a little more than $400,000 per game . (Initial, and as it turned inaccurate, reports had Irving losing double that.)

The wording of the announcement seems to suggest that the review found that the party violated two parts of a protocol governing NBA players attending gatherings of 1) more than 15 people and 2) entering bars, lounges, clubs or similar establishments.

Early in the day, both Shams and Adrian Wojnarowski report that Irving could be available for Saturday’s game vs. the Magic if he continues to test negative.

The fines were levied by the league, not the team. The Nets could also fine Irving, but in comments Thursday, Marks seemed ready to embrace Irving.

“Regarding Kyrie Irving and when he’ll be back with the team: Part of that is up to the NBA, and we’re waiting for them to come a ruling on the Health & Safety protocol,” explained Marks on Thursday. “Hopefully, we’ll have a ruling soon. I have talked to Kyrie. I know he’s excited about getting back on the court with his teammates as soon as possible.”

In the meantime, Irving has been cooperating with the rules of the NBA’s COVID-19 plans since the birthday party, testing daily according to Marks.

“Kyrie has been keeping up with his Healthy & Safety protocols and testing daily. Since he’s been doing that, it’s out of my hands. The league is reviewing.” Marks continued, “We look forward to addressing with Kyrie when he’s back in our building amongst his teammates, amongst his Nets family, and going from there.”

Meanwhile, Anthony Puccio, writing for The Association, reports that Irving and Nash do not have a great relationship.

Marks did not consult Irving before he hired head coach Steve Nash in September. Irving is frustrated with the Nets front office because of this, and his relationship with Nash is shaky at best.

Irving’s new teammate James Harden was fined $50,000 by the NBA and was ruled “unavailable” for a game last month due to a violation of the league’s COVID-19 protocols after the league reviewed video of him socializing maskless at a club in Atlanta.