Much has been made this week of a possible loophole that the Brooklyn Nets could exploit to get Kyrie Irving to play in home games. But it turns out the NBA would just reject it like Mutombo if the Nets even tried it.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski clarified Thursday the NBA’s stance on teams hypothetically paying a fine in order for an unvaccinated player to play in a market where local ordinances would otherwise forbid them from doing so. An league memo sent to teams on Sept. 1, before the season began, says that teams must obey local laws and that players who do not comply will not be able to play, Wojnarowski says.
Another reporter noted this week that the New York order preventing the unvaccinated Irving from playing at Barclays Center actually contains this loophole. The Nets could theoretically get Irving to play at home by simply paying a fine every time, which would not add up to all that much for them.
Wojnarowski’s clarification, which was made in response to this suggestion, means that we can effectively put the kibosh on that whole idea however.
The seven-time All-Star Irving is officially back with the Nets as a part-time player, appearing only in away games for the team. But that setup may not be feasible for long, especially if Brooklyn makes it to the playoffs. Still, it appears that the Nets have zero way around it unless and until Irving decides to get vaccinated.