On Sunday, February 27, NYC Mayor Eric Adams announced that vaccine requirements will be removed for fitness, indoor dining, and entertainment venues starting March 7. While Adams’ planned rollback of mandates apparently would allow Irving access to the Barclays Center as a spectator, it appears that it would not clear the way for him to play home games for the Brooklyn Nets.
Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that a private-sector mandate not covered by Adams’ proclamation would still prohibit Irving from suiting up. Adams didn’t address the private sector mandate in his Sunday statement; however, he did announce a similar track to remove mask mandates from schools starting March 7.
The injury-riddled Nets could use their star point guard to revive the team after the All-Star break. In 15 games, Irving is averaging 25.1 points and 5.3 assists per game while shooting 36.6% from three.
After leading Brooklyn with 38 points in a big victory in Milwaukee, Irving is starting the mesh with this new-look roster and is making the Nets look like the scariest eight-seed in NBA history.
The trade with the Philadelphia 76ers reunited Irving with his college teammate Seth Curry. In his brief stint in Brooklyn, Andre Drummond has looked like the All-Star version of himself that we saw in Detroit. In a crowded big-man room, Drummond has quickly separated himself from the pack as a defensive stopper, big body, and rebound machine.
With Irving unable to play in Brooklyn, the Nets continue to face roadblocks on the way to their final form. Brooklyn’s roster has way too much talent to be the eighth seed or even step foot in the play-in tournament.
With all these injuries, the Nets’ road to the championship only gets harder with these mandates. This roster was assembled with a title in mind. Yet, this will be extremely difficult to reach if Brooklyn ends up in the play-in. With all these injuries in mind, the Nets will be extremely worn out if they make it close to the finals. They will have to face the toughest road to the championship than any other contender in the NBA.
Mayor Adams has previously stated his desire to get Kyrie Irving back on the court, but these actions do not follow those sentiments. The mandates are being revisited this week and Irving is hopeful to return for Brooklyn’s March 13 matchup with that other team that plays in New York.
With Durant’s return coming soon and Simmon’s ramp-up going well, the Nets should be at full form by the end of March, just in time for the title run that should bring the Larry O’Brien trophy back to Brooklyn.