The NBA officially has a COVID problem as the rising number of cases is decimating rosters across the league. The Brooklyn Nets lost seven players earlier in the week to the health and safety protocols, and MVP frontrunner Kevin Durant joined more than half the roster on Saturday.
Brooklyn has a game against the Orlando Magic on Saturday night followed by a Sunday matchup against the Denver Nuggets, but will they even be able to play? The league may have to step in and postpone some games, like they did with the Chicago Bulls this week.
That’s hardly a concern at the moment, though. What’s even more problematic is Kyrie Irving’s imminent return to the team on a part-time basis. The Nets finally gave in and decided to bring Irving back in an ironic manner — while the team was enduring a string of COVID-related absences.
So you’re going to bring back the unvaccinated guy to ONLY play in games when you’re traveling across the country?
Kevin Durant will be out for the Nets as he enters the league’s health and safety protocols.
Here are the Nets players who could miss up to 10 days as a result of the COVID scare. They either need to isolate for 10 days after a positive test/onset of symptoms or record two negative tests within a 24-hour period.
- Kevin Durant (which now puts him in danger of missing Christmas Day against the Lakers)
- James Harden
- LaMarcus Aldridge
- Bruce Brown
- Jevon Carter
- James Johnson
- Paul Millsap
- DeAndre’ Bembry
Head coach Steve Nash will once again have to rely on a roster of mostly rookies to carry the team should the Nets be able to play the next few days.
Back to the main point, though. Bringing Irving back during a time like this couldn’t be more contradictory. In a six-day period, 50 NBA players have tested positive for COVID and it’s fair to assume a good amount of them were protected against the virus after the league revealed its high vaccination rate earlier in the year.
There is a need for Irving, yes, but during a potential COVID outbreak when a limited amount of players have yet to test positive? It’s not exactly a matter of life and death, but you’re willing to import a player who can catch and spread the virus far more easily than anybody on the roster?
This was obviously a big topic of conversation on Friday when the Nets announced the news, but Durant’s setback provides even more of a spotlight since he’s the most high-profile player to date to enter the health and safety protocols.
If the Nets and owner Joe Tsai stood pat on the decision not to allow Irving to be a part-time player when there were no COVID cases and the league was operating as usual, the change of heart to bring him back during a time of potential immediate crisis and then learn your best player could miss up to 10 days because of the very issue preventing Irving from playing in the first place further adds to the tone-deaf messaging here.