Owner Nets Tsai isn’t sure when the unvaccinated Irving will play again

The NBA does not require players to be vaccinated, but Irving is not suitable for playing in home games because the New York mandate requires proof of at least one vaccine intake to enter large indoor spaces.

The Nets announced ahead of this season that Irving, a seven-time All-Star who joined Brooklyn in 2019 after appearances with Cleveland and Boston, will not play or practice with the team until he is eligible as a full participant.

“I don’t know,” Tsai told ESPN in an interview when asked about Irving’s return. “He has to be vaccinated so he can come back if the New York mandate is still in force. Don’t ask me when they can or shouldn’t change the mandate.

“If you ask people who make decisions at the city level, they’ll say we’re going to rely on science, relying on what the health department is telling us.”

Tsai said he has not spoken to Irving since the team took a stand on his participation.

“Kyrie has her own beliefs, so I respect that. But we have to decide for the team. It’s not a decision about him. It’s a decision about where we go as a team,” Tsai said.

“And it’s just not sustainable to have a team with a player coming and going, no home games, just away. What then do you do in training? A whole series of six home games await us this week, so we won’t have Kyrie.

“We’re very coordinated … that it has to be, especially since we’re a team with pretty high aspirations. We don’t see another way to lead this team.”


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