Over the weekend, Nets head coach Steve Nash admitted that the team will be without Kyrie Irving for parts of the upcoming season.
“I think we recognize he’s not playing home games,” Nash said of Irving. “We’re going to have to for sure play without him this year.
“So it just depends on when, where and how much.”
Under New York City’s guidelines, players on the Knicks and Nets who are unvaccinated for COVID-19 are prohibited from entering their home arenas for both practices and games. Irving is now allowed to practice with the Nets after New York City determined the team’s practice facility a private office building, but the seven-time All-Star is still not able to play in games at Barclays Center until he fulfills the city’s vaccine requirement.
Earlier in the month, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Brian Windhorst reported that the Nets remain “unclear” on Irving’s intentions on getting vaccinated.
The Nets open the 2021-22 season on Oct. 19 with a matchup against the Bucks in Milwaukee. They then travel to Philadelphia to face the 76ers on Oct. 22 before returning to Brooklyn for their season-opener on Oct. 24 against the Hornets.
Irving was ruled ineligible to play in Brooklyn’s preseason game against the Bucks on Friday, marking his first missed game due to New York City’s vaccine mandate.
Irving averaged 26.9 points per game last season, tying him with Kevin Durant for team-high honors. In shooting 50.6 percent from the field, 40.2 percent from 3-point range and 92.2 percent from the free throw line, he became the ninth member of the NBA’s 50-40-90 club.