NBA: Irving expected to get vaccinated, Durant influence key
Kyrie Irving, one of the NBA's most high-profile anti-vaxxers, is now expected to agree to get his covid-19 shots, league sources say.
The Brooklyn Nets’ Kyrie Irving has been the focus of the attention in recent days over his refusal to accept the vaccine against covid-19. Amid apparent support from the star for online conspiracy theories about the vaccine, his stance is one that his aunt, Tyki, has told Rolling Stone is “moral-based”, and is one that has left him facing a huge fine and, because of covid-19 rules, exclusion from playing home games. Irving was also unable to appear in the Nets’ media day in person on Monday, instead facing the press via Zoom.
Irving expected to finally agree to get covid-19 jab
However, NBA sources believe the 29-year-old will end up getting the vaccine, and have highlighted the role played by close friend and Nets team-mate Kevin Durant in persuading him to receive his shots.
Irving’s vaccination status was one of the dominant topics on media day. The point guard asked reporters to “please respect my privacy” and would not say whether he had been vaccinated. Irving, Bradley Beal and Andrew Wiggins are among the NBA players who are believed not to have had the vaccine at this point. If Irving doesn’t get his covid-19 jabs, he’ll be unable to play for the Nets in Brooklyn, due to New York City regulations requiring over-12s to be vaccinated in large-capacity venues such as basketball arenas.
Irving-Simmons swap rumoured
A potential situation in which Irving cannot play at home for the Nets has led to speculation over a swap involving the Philadelphia 76ers’ point guard Ben Simmons, who has asked for a trade and doesn’t plan on playing for the Sixers ever again. However, several league sources with knowledge of the situation have categorically denied that Irving or the Nets are interested in such a deal. "Kyrie came to Brooklyn to win a championship alongside Kevin Durant," an executive told the media outlet Bleacher Report.
For the moment, Irving has the support of his franchise. "I’m sure Sean Marks and Steve Nash aren't thrilled with the situation, but despite all the shit that goes on, they still treat him really well there," a league source explained to Bleacher. "They hear him out. They make the effort to try and communicate with him. That's why Brooklyn is a special place."