Brooklyn Nets’ guard Kyrie Irving remains away from the team after the Nets leadership pulled away the possibility of Irving being a part-time player for the team.
In an exclusive interview with the Glue Guys podcast, The Athletic’s Shams Charania detailed why Irving has decided to remain unvaccinated ... and what the reaction inside the locker room has been to that stance. He also noted why now, that the Nets fully expected Irving to get vaccinated before camp.
Charania also addressed whether the Nets have pulled Irving’s contract extension and how receptive the team would be to trade requests for Irving.
Bottom line: Charania says all options are on the table for the Nets involving Kyrie’s future with the team ... including trading the superstar guard.
To listen to the entire interview, click here. Portions of the interview with the Glue Guys are transcribed below.
On why Kyrie Irving has decided to not get vaccinated:
Shams: As far as what has driven his decision making and so obviously what he’s told people around the organization and teammates is, ‘I’m not anti-vaccine. I’m upset about the people that have lost their jobs because of any mandates.’ And again, whether you agree or you disagree with him taking that stance, that is how he feels. And in his mind, he’s fighting for something bigger than basketball. And in his mind, this is a grander fight and one that he believes he has the voice to drive.
Kyrie Irving as a part-time player:
Shams: There was a ruling last Friday that allowed him to practice at home because New York City Hall ruled that the practice facility HSS Training Center in Brooklyn is a private office building. So that was seen as positive news and really gave the Nets an entry point to allow him (Kyrie) to be a part time player and play on the road and practice at home. But clearly, at the end of the day, that is not something that they felt like they wanted to do. And he (Kyrie) was willing to sacrifice at a $16 million in salary this upcoming year and $186 million dollars as far as an extension that he will not be offered now.
On whether Kyrie Irving was preparing to get vaccinated:
Shams: There was an expectation from the teammates that Kyrie Irving was going to follow suit and get vaccinated, and he did not.
Why the Nets decided to not allow Kyrie Irving to participate as a part-time player:
Shams: I think the Nets tried to do the best that they could to give Kyrie Irving space and time to make his own decision on the vaccine and how he wanted to proceed with the season and the year. And in their mind, there were a lot of conversations back and forth, a lot of communication and a lot of meetings. A lot of, you know, really deep conversations on the matter. And once it got to a point that obviously they wanted him back as a full time player and Kyrie Irving just was not ready to, at the end of the day, be vaccinated. And so at the end of day, the Nets had to do what they had to do, and Kyrie Irving, who had a personal choice, had to make his own personal choice.
Whether the Nets think they are championship contenders without Kyrie Irving:
Shams: I think they do, and I think they’re very confident in James Harden and Kevin Durant to lead this group. Now, obviously, if you have a Kyrie Irving that lessens your room for error, right? Like if one of those two guys, James Harden and Kevin Durant is hobbled, which we saw last year in the playoffs, it’s clear that they can be beat
Whether a trade involving Kyrie Irving is possible:
Shams: Listen, I think everything is on the table at this point. I think even Sean Marks and Steve Nash, I don’t think they’ve addressed the trade component, but they have said multiple times that everything as far as situations are on the table and so everything is on the table. And so if a significant offer comes their way for a guy who as of now is not playing for them, will they have to listen? I’m sure they will.
Interest from other teams around the league to trade for Kyrie Irving:
Shams: I mean, would his value be as high as ever? No, it wouldn’t. But as far as teams being interested, I mean, there’s definitely already teams that would have a level of interest, yes.