The discussion surrounding Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving’s ability to play NBA games in New York continues to be a hot topic. This debate was brought to the fore when Kevin Durant rang Sunday after Brooklyn beat the New York Knicks 110-107.
“It’s like, at this point, someone is trying to make a statement or assert their authority,” Durant said. “Everyone here is looking for attention. That’s what I feel like the mayor wants right now: attention.
“There are already (unvaccinated) people in this building. We have a guy who can enter the building. Are they worried about our safety? I don’t understand. We are all confused. Almost everyone in the world is confused. At this point.”
Following Durant’s comments, Eric Adams, the mayor of New York, took the time for a press conference to address the discussion surrounding Irving.
“Kyrie can play tomorrow. Get vaccinated,” Adams said.
Later Monday, the Brooklyn Nets were fined by the NBA for allowing Irving into the team locker room after Sunday’s game.
Irving can play away games
Although Kyrie Irving is not allowed to play games in New York due to the NYC mandate, he is allowed to play elsewhere for the Brooklyn Nets. As such, Irving performed wherever possible besides Brooklyn, Madison Square Garden and also Toronto due to Canadian restrictions.
He will only be able to play four of the team’s last 14 regular season games. He will not be able to play on April 6 in New York.
Of course, the Nets (35-33) would like Irving to be available for all of their playoff games. This is probably why the conversation around his availability is starting to heat up again. No team can expect to challenge for an NBA championship when one of their players is restricted to road games only (not in Canada or MSG).
Still, Irving remained firm in his decision not to get vaccinated. So, unless New York’s mandate is lifted, Irving will be limited in contributing to his team in the playoffs.
Irving plays well
Irving has appeared in 18 games this season and has been impressive when given the chance to play. In 36.2 minutes per night, the superstar guard is averaging 25.9 points, 4.6 rebounds and 5.4 assists. He shoots 40.8% from deep, 47.6% overall and 89.7% from the free throw line.
Of course, these numbers represent only a small sample, but they are not too far off from what is expected of the ball handling scholar. If he’s not allowed to play in every playoff game, it will be unfortunate for NBA fans and the league itself. It’s because Irving is a great artist with the ball in his hands.