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Kyrie Irving hoping for change in mandate

Brooklyn Nets v Denver Nuggets Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images

Kyrie Irving seemed hopeful, if not optimistic, that New York’s mandate could change, but didn’t elaborate on his reasons for that hope.

“I’m keeping a positive mindset that anything can happen in the next few days or the next week,” said Irving. “Just crossing my fingers that something can come up before All-Star break or after. So I’m definitely keeping a positive attitude in that sense.”

Five days ago, Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports was on TNT during the Suns game with an update after speaking with the Office of Mayor Eric Adams.

“There are currently no plans to amend the mandate. The spokesperson also added we will continue to follow the science and the guidance of public health professionals to keep New Yorkers safe. We encourage all New Yorkers to get vaccinated and boosted to stop the spread.”

There’s also no indication that Irving plans on getting vaccinated and even if he did, there were would be a significant delay. He would have to be fully vaccinated to play in New York. Under the city’s current mandate, “fully vaccinated” is defined as “14 days past an individual’s last vaccination dose in their initial vaccine series (14 days past the second shot of a two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine; 14 days past the one-shot Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine).”

Indeed, Irving is only eligible to play in three of the team’s next 11 games, among them road games in New York and Toronto where he won’t be eligible to play. The Nets are 3-8 with him on the road this season.

Irving also dismissed the trade rumors about his backcourt mate James Harden as “plants.”

“I think James can speak better to that than I can,” Irving said. “We’ve had conversations but I’m just getting back into the swing of things, how all those media plants start going around with rumors and stuff like that, I really do not concern myself with that.

“So the few conversations that we’ve had, he’s been really committed, and we just hold him to his word, but obviously when we’re going out to play games we can’t even really think about it, so we would love to have him in the lineup, at his optimum healthy version of himself, and then we’ll let the rest take care of it, but who knows? Who knows what’s going to happen?”