One of the biggest stories of the 2021–2022 NBA season has been the playing—and COVID-19 vaccination—status of Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving. Irving, who remains unvaccinated, has missed the majority of the Nets’ games thus far due to being barred from playing in New York City arenas in light of the city’s COVID-19 mandates.
Initially, the Nets balked at allowing Irving to only play in away games as a part-time participant, but clearly, the team has had a change of heart. And now, there may be a loophole the organization can use to get around those mandates and soon have the star player back in the Barclays Center.
According to the New York Daily News, violation of the city’s mandates on vaccinations results in a warning for the first offense, with the second violation resulting in a $1,000 fine. While it’s unclear what repercussions would result in continued non-compliance with NYC’s COVID-19 mandates, as it currently stands, the Nets or Irving would have to fork up approximately $20,000 if Irving were to play the 20 home games remaining on the Nets’ regular-season schedule. If the Nets advance to the playoffs, as is expected, and were to win the NBA Finals, the organization could possibly pay between $12,000 and $16,000 for Irving to participate in Nets’ home playoff games.
One factor that could alter these figures would be if the Nets were to face-off against the New York Knicks, Toronto Raptors, or Golden State Warriors, teams that play in cities with their own COVID-19 mandates and protocols. However, for an organization that has a history of throwing tens of millions of dollars to the wayside, paying what could amount to less than $50,000 for a potential title run would be considered cash well spent for the Nets and certainly spell good news for Irving’s return.