Kyrie Irving was spotted at the Nets practice facility in Brooklyn on Wednesday, according to multiple sources.
Kyrie Irving has been practicing with the Brooklyn Nets at their practice facility in New York City. The team’s training facility is located in Brooklyn, New York.
7:00 p.m. Eastern
ESPN’s Tim Bontemps
Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets will be allowed to practice at the team’s facility in Brooklyn, according to reports, but he will still be unable to participate in home games due to the city’s COVID-19 vaccination requirement.
The city determined that the HSS Training Center, the Nets’ practice facility in Brooklyn, is a “private office building” rather than an indoor gym, and thus Irving’s status has changed. The HSS Training Center is one of the many indoor facilities that fall under the city’s vaccine mandate, which went into effect last month.
“It seems like we may have Kyrie on the road with us, but I’m not sure he’ll be playing,” Nets coach Steve Nash said before Friday night’s preseason game in Brooklyn against the Milwaukee Bucks, the first contest Irving was forced to miss this season due to the vaccination requirement. “There won’t be much of a danger of harm, but there will be a lot to go through. We’re just receiving information at the same time as you, so we’ll see what happens.”
Irving hasn’t been with the Nets since they returned from California, where they conducted training camp in San Diego ahead of their preseason opening against the Lakers on Sunday in Los Angeles, in which Irving didn’t participate.
When questioned about Irving after the Nets’ preseason game against Milwaukee on Friday night, Kevin Durant said, “At least he can practice.” “But we want him to be there for the whole event. We want him for all of our games, including home games, practices, road games, and shootarounds. So, hopefully, we’ll be able to solve this problem.”
Irving was unable to attend the team’s media day due to New York City’s vaccination requirement, which requires evidence of at least one COVID-19 vaccine injection to access, among other places, indoor gyms such as Barclays Center, home of the Nets, and Madison Square Garden, home of the Knicks. Instead, Irving participated in the ceremony, which took place on Sept. 27 at Barclays Center, through a Zoom connection from his home.
The condition also caused Irving to skip practice this week, prompting Nash to be asked whether the Nets had contemplated relocating their practice facility to enable Irving to work out with them, a suggestion he rejected.
But that won’t be required anymore, according to the city’s decision on Friday to allow Irving to work out at the facility. The Nets will have an open practice at Brooklyn Bridge Park on Saturday afternoon, followed by a practice at their facility on Sunday before flying to Philadelphia for Monday’s game against the 76ers — the only time Irving will be able to play before the season opener against the defending champion Bucks on Oct. 19 in Milwaukee.
“I mean, I guess all I’d say is that my first reaction is good,” Nash remarked. “He’ll be with us for a longer length of time this season.” We’ll have to wait and see what happens. I’m not sure. This [decision] was just received. Is there going to be another one? Will he be permitted to play at home at some point? Is there any chance he won’t be allowed to practice at our facility?
“We’re simply keeping up with the newest, and I don’t believe anybody has gone through anything like this before. Obviously, the pandemic was new to everyone, but now we’re in a situation where the epidemic is also creating all of these new situations. I’m not sure what to say other that it’s great that he can now work with his teammates at our practice facility, and it offers us more opportunities to communicate with him.”
Nash agreed with the analogy when asked about Irving’s chances of playing Monday and if it was like checking up on an injured player to see how they’re doing considering the amount of time Irving has been away from the club.
“Yes, more or less, since “a certain amount of high-intensity training before you’d put them in a game” is still required when someone is ready to resume full participation on the court, Nash said. I believe that you must achieve those thresholds even if you are not wounded, and that you must also reach those thresholds if you are injured after you are well, quote unquote.”
Irving’s inability to play games in Brooklyn — or at Madison Square Garden for the two times a year the Nets will face the rival Knicks — is unaffected by the shift in the city’s position, which could cost him more than $17 million if he does not comply with the requirement throughout the season.
However, although the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association have agreed that anybody missing games without “just cause” this season would forfeit 1/91.6th of their pay, the union has not agreed that the requirement applies to Irving’s case.
“They’ve been claiming that we’ve agreed that if a player is unable to play because to his non-vaccination status, he may be fined [money],” Michele Roberts, the NBPA’s executive director, told The New York Daily News earlier this week. “We couldn’t agree on anything. According to the league, they can. We’ll have to wait and see.”
New York’s shift in attitude on the Nets’ facility was originally reported by The Athletic.
Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN contributed to this story.
Kyrie Irving was able to practice with the Brooklyn Nets at their practice facility in New Jersey on Wednesday. The Boston Celtics guard is still recovering from a fractured kneecap he suffered during the Eastern Conference Finals, but has been cleared for full-contact practices. Reference: nets big 3.
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