The Brooklyn Nets haven’t started the season well, and issues relating to Kyrie Irving’s vaccination status certainly haven’t helped matters. The saga of his COVID-19 stance hit a new low earlier this week when supporters of his stand briefly stormed the Barclays Center, causing the arena to go into lockdown.
Irving isn’t eligible to play for the Nets in their home games, and the Nets have chosen to leave him out of the roster altogether to avoid any complications of having a non-vaccinated player in their midst.
The Brooklyn Nets still lead the way in NBA betting, and you can see on the sidelines website that Steve Nash’s side can be backed at (+250) and this despite the fact that they have started the season with a 1-2 record.
29-year-old Irving, a seven-time All-Star pick, has now become something of a hero figure in the anti-vax brigade and seems no nearer to climbing down on his position. The large group of protestors had attempted to storm the Barclays Center, and when they appeared to be succeeding in that endeavor, the arena went into a brief lockdown.
The Nets lost their encounter with the Charlotte Hornets 95-111, and Kevin Durant, who scored 38 of their points, was repeatedly asked whether the absence of Irving was a factor that led to their loss, and he firmly stated;
“While we are playing in a game, I am not going to sit there and say … when we get down, or it is a tight game, like ‘Damn, we don’t have enough,” Durant said. “We are not going to be thinking about [that] during the game. We definitely want Kyrie Irving out here on the floor. And he is a huge part of what we do. But it is not happening right now. So we got to figure it out.
“But no one is going to lose confidence while we are playing and hope Kyrie comes to save us during the game. No, we got to play. Everybody here is confident in what they do. We just got to play.”
Durant very much looks like a player who has too much on his shoulders, and it’s beginning to tell. He’s top-scored in all three of the Nets’ opening fixtures, and against the Hornets, he was supported by just two players who scored into double figures.
Whether or not Irving would improve the Nets’ chances of delivering on their favorite status is something of a moot point at present, and one wonders where the situation will end up taking both Kyrie and the franchise that has attempted to support him as much as they can.
Irving took to his Instagram account to explain his actions, but in doing so, he has perhaps only exacerbated matters. Indeed, his coach Nash didn’t even pay attention to that broadcast;
“I didn’t listen to it, and I’ve pretty much said everything I’ve had to say about it If something changes. we’ll talk about it.”
On the matter and how it’s affecting his Nets’ team, Nash continued.
“It’s going to come up throughout the year,” he said. “It may not be an everyday thing like it is now, but I’m sure it’s going to come up here and there. But we’re pros. We understand. We know the media has a job to do, so it’s on us to focus on our job and answer the questions. We are not going to get irritated at what you all ask. It’s part of the job.”