Kyrie Irving missed practice with the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday under New York’s COVID-19 vaccination protocols, which make the NBA champion ineligible to practice or play in the city.
The seven-time All-Star will lose 1/91.6 of his salary, equating to roughly $380,000 for each game. Although Irving was able to practice with the team during training camp in San Diego, California, he could not go to the Nets’ first practice in Brooklyn. Anyone playing for a New York team must have at least one dose of the vaccination before they can play in the state, per protocols.
It is typical for Irving to ask for privacy from members of the media regarding his decision regarding the vaccination.
“I know that I’ll be there every day no matter what and just be present for my teammates as one of the leaders on the team and be there for my growing tribe off the court. I know the focus has to be at an all-time high, no distractions. This is the last thing I wanted to create, was more distractions and more hoopla and more drama around this. I’m doing my best to maintain this with good intentions and a good heart.”
Nets head coach Steve Nash expressed possible concerns over the potential absence of Irving should he follow through and maintain being unvaccinated.
“We support him. We are here for him. Things change. When there’s a resolution, we’re here for him,” Nash said.
During the upcoming season, the NBA and NBA Players Association came to a decision for a reduction in pay of a player’s salary for every game an unvaccinated player misses due to vaccine mandates.
Nash reiterated the team will not change locations to allow Irving to practice with the team.
“No, this is our home, this is where we’re going to practice and we have almost a whole group,” he said. “So that’s a positive, and we’re just working at getting better every day and focusing on the things we can control.”
The Nets continue their preseason against the Milwaukee Bucks in Brooklyn on Friday.