Porter isn’t the only NBA player to express this perspective, nor is he the only member of the Nuggets to start the season unvaccinated, despite the best efforts of management and even other teammates. “The numbers are overwhelmingly supportive of getting vaccinated,” Connelly says. “I shared those opinions loudly not with just Michael—he’s not the only guy on our team that shares a similar stance. It’s something I don’t agree with, but it’s a very personal decision. It’s not something we can or would mandate.”
Williams, of course, was a star at Duke and taken with the second overall pick by the Chicago Bulls in the 2002 NBA Draft. He suffered severe injuries in a motorcycle crash in 2003 that ultimately cost him his playing career. Williams also doubled down on his defense of Irving. “Kyrie Irving doesn’t owe you anything. He doesn’t owe you a response on your timeline. He doesn’t owe you answers that you feel like you need,” Williams said. “Everybody says, ‘Oh, the NBA season starts in five days.’ Who gives a damn.”
“My main thing is: We don’t have years and years of data for how it can affect you,” Porter tells me. “So for me, I know I’m immune to COVID right now—more immune than a lot of people with the vaccine are. I’ve had it twice. I’ve got the antibodies, all those things. It’s just laying off on it for now. I’m not against the vaccine. What I’m against is not allowing other people to have a choice, or people trying to force it on other people.”
Last year on Snapchat, Porter described the fear of COVID-19 as a means of controlling people’s behavior, and said of the pandemic: “It is a serious thing, it’s a real thing, but yeah, this is being overblown.” In San Diego, Porter took a very different stance. “People that say it’s not a big deal,” he clarified, “are definitely misinformed.”
“I’ve been called anti-vax, MAGA Porter Jr., things like that,” he says with a chuckle, shaking his head. “That couldn’t be farther from the truth.” Regardless, there has never been an easier time to tell Porter exactly what you think of him, seeing as social media works as a direct pipeline for all the bile the internet has to offer.
“Would I love to say that we’re 100 percent fully vaccinated? Of course,” Malone says. “I hope we get there at some point. But as we wait for that to happen, we’re gonna stay together. We’re gonna support guys and not judge or alienate or put guys in the corner. … It’s our responsibility to make sure we’re still loving Michael and supporting him. And hopefully at one point, he makes that decision that he thinks is in his best interest as well as our best interest as a team, to do that.”
Yet team management and ownership figures across the league have voiced frustration about double standards for players like Irving, whom the NBA does not require to be vaccinated. Meanwhile, the league does require basketball and business operations staffers to be vaccinated, and they are subject to close contact with unvaccinated players.
There is a belief among ownership figures that this discrepancy could net a concession from the players' union during the next round of CBA negotiations, sources said, especially after media day was dominated by conversation about players’ vaccination statuses. The storyline has only continued casting a pall over this preseason, as the Nets announced Tuesday that they will not permit Irving to join the team until he is vaccinated.
Brian Lewis: Steve Nash said he didn't listen to Kyrie Irving's IG Live and is done talking about him. #Nets #NBA
“This is not the ideal situation coming into the season but it’s out of our control. What we can do is come in and focus on our jobs every single day. What is being mad going to do? It’s not going to change his mind,” Durant said after the Nets preseason finale win over the Timberwolves. “We’ll let him figure what he needs to do and let the team figure out what they need to do. Us as players, when we’re in the locker room or on the floor, we are going to work with each other. Life is amazing. I can’t be too mad at somebody making a decision for themselves. Who am I to get upset at that?”
“I definitely want Kyrie to be around. I wish none of this stuff happened but this is the situation that we’re in. Kyrie made his decision on what he wanted to do. He chose to do what he wanted to do and the team did the same,” Durant said.
Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene has spoken up in defense of benched Brooklyn Nets player Kyrie Irving, who has steadfastly refused to get the COVID-19 shot. "The fascist NBA won't let Kyrie Irving play for refusing a vaccine. But yet they still let Magic Johnson play with HIV," wrote Greene in a tweet on October 14.
Former Dallas Mavericks guard Jason Terry knows Kyrie Irving, and he knows there is no chance the oddly odd Brooklyn Nets All-Star is changing his mind. “If you know Kyrie, he believes in what he believes in, whether we agree with him or not,” Terry told me. “I am not surprised by this at all. It’s one of those things that when he believes in something, that’s it.”
If Irving really does not play this season, that could have an awful effect on a team that with him in the lineup next to James Harden and Kevin Durant could win the franchise’s first NBA title. “Only one team can win a title and last [season] they didn’t win it,” Terry said. “This year it’s not guaranteed. What he believes in, that’s guaranteed. It’s just something he wholeheartedly believes in, and you are not going to change him. That’s who he is.”
Harris said the Sixers’ vaccination rate is “very high,” but declined to divulge more specific data. He added he is “glad to stand on the side of science and vaccination and public health,” and that he will continue to facilitate education for players about the shots’ safety and effectiveness.
Tim Reynolds: Another uptick in NBA vaccination rates: now 96% of the league’s players are vaxxed or in the process, up 1% from the number early in camp, source tells AP. This could move another point or so depending on roster cuts before next week.
Marbury compared the Nets star to Muhammad Ali, an iconic boxer that worked tirelessly on social justice issues during his time. “Ali would be proud of you” “Nah they can’t cut and edit these God words spoken. It’s all love here and this soul speaking got a[n] ARMY behind him.” “You [are] bringing the vaccinated and unvaccinated together. That’s a different power. No one [has] ever seen it before,” Marbury comments.
In his latest Instagram Live, Irving addressed the issue and even fired back at the critics who has been blasting him for his stance. The Nets guard even issued some sort of a challenge for those criticizing him online but has no courage of telling it to his face. “These dudes read off scripts. They calling me unintelligent, all these different kinds of names. They’ll never say it to my face,” Irving said in his IG Live.
Kyrie Irving also blasted the media for spreading rumors about his stance, calling them “puppets.” To recall, there were talks about the Nets playmaker starting a conspiracy about the COVID-19 vaccine–particularly Moderna which is said to be involved in a plan to implant microchips on Black people. “To continue to play with my name…without me speaking? These dudes are puppets!” Irving added. “One thing I’m not gonna tolerate is standing around watching people do things around me that are very questionable,” he furthered in his IG Live.
Anthony Puccio: Kyrie mentions there was some sort of promise for exemption. “This wasn’t an issue before the season started.”
Brian Lewis: Kyrie Irving on IG Live: "We just came out of one of the craziest pandemics of all time, and you're telling me to think rationally." A lot to unpack in there, most of all the use of the past tense. Folks still dying out here. #Nets #NBA
Shams Charania: Kyrie Irving says tonight on Instagram live: "I’m standing with all those that believe what is right. Everybody is entitled to do what they feel is what’s best for themselves. Seeing the way this is dividing our world up...it’s sad to see...People are losing jobs to mandates."
Towns tragically lost his mother and multiple family members to the dreaded disease. If any NBA star would have strong opinions on the matter, it’s him. Ahead of the Minnesota Timberwolves’ preseason tilt against the Nets, KAT was asked about Kyrie Irving’s reluctance to get the shot. Via Adam Zagoria of NJ.com: “I’m obviously a strong believer in the vaccine,” Towns said ahead of their game against the Nets.”I’ve been through so much and it would be kind of contradictory to not be on the pro-vaccine side. But what I will say is that I believe in choice and I like to give people their choice and I have no problem with people having their choice.”
Towns may be pro-vaccine, but he’s not forcing anybody else to be the same. However, he did finish his answer with a rather testy remark. “I think that’s not only a human right, but it’s an American right as well.. … They make their own decisions on their own bodies and their own families. I have no ill will towards that,” Towns continued. “The only thing I would say is just don’t give me a (expletive) excuse why [you don’t get the vaccine]…You don’t want to do it, that’s your choice.”
Marcus Morris: I don’t know how some of these dudes be on television, I can’t even watch that shit. Literally say anything for fame and money it’s sad. I’m wit @KyrieIrving keep being you my brother.
Ohm Youngmisuk: Kyrie on IG: "I chose to be unvaccinated and that is my choice and I would ask you to respect (it)." He says it is not a political thing or about the NBA and adds that he will stay ready to rejoin the team and go after a championship. He adds, "And no, I'm not retiring."
Ohm Youngmisuk: Kyrie on IG: "Nobody should be forced to do anything with their bodies. You only get one of these. If you choose to get vaccinated, I support you. Do what is best for you but that doesn't mean go around and judging people."
Brian Lewis: Kyrie Irving on IG Live: "I'm doing what's best for me. I know the consequences here, and if it means that I'm demonized, I'm sure that that's just what it is. That's the role I play. But I never wanted to give up my passion, my love, my dream." #Nets #NBA
“Kyrie believes in his beliefs and he stands firm and strong on that,” James Harden said. “For us, we respect it. We all love Ky. But as far as us, we have a job to do. Individually, myself. I’m still wanting to set myself up for a championship. And I feel like the entire organization is on the same path, and we’re all, as a collective unit. We’ll keep pushing forward and we’ll try to do our best every single day to get better and keep going as a collective unit.”
With just under two weeks until the Dallas Mavericks’ season opener, owner Mark Cuban has made his stance known on COVID-19 vaccinations. And it doesn’t appear that he will be backing down any time soon. “It is your choice. It is absolutely, positively up to you. But there are consequences that come with that,” Cuban said during an appearance on 10 Questions with Kyle Brandt, a Spotify podcast.
Mark Cuban: “If you work for me, I require my employees to be vaccinated unless there’s a doctor’s reason where they can’t be. I don’t want my kids to be at risk, so the consequences of you not being vaccinated is I’m not going to shut the [expletive] up. I’m going to be in your mother[expletive] ear driving you mother[expletive] crazy.”
As of now, Kyrie Irving has no plans to be vaccinated, sources say. Within the franchise and the players in the locker room, it is understood that Irving’s decision is what it is.
Multiple sources with direct knowledge of Irving’s decision have told The Athletic that Irving is not anti-vaccine and that his stance is that he is upset that people are losing their jobs due to vaccine mandates. It’s a stance that Irving has explained to close teammates. To him, this is about a grander fight than the one on the court and Irving is challenging a perceived control of society and people’s livelihood, according to sources with knowledge of Irving’s mindset. It is a decision that he believes he is capable to make given his current life dynamics. “Kyrie wants to be a voice for the voiceless,” one source said.
Jim Owczarski: #Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer provided a vaccine update on his team - he said they’re not at 100% but every day they’re trying to get there.
Tommy Beer: So, less relevant considering the Nets announcement this morning, but I just heard back from an official in Mayor Bill de Blasio's office, and he affirmed that: Kyrie Irving is NOT permitted to play vs. the Knicks at Madison Square Garden unless/until he gets the vaccine.
Kristian Winfield: Sean Marks on Kyrie Irving's vaccination status: "If he was vaccinated, we wouldn't be having this discussion. I think that's pretty clear." #Nets
Ohm Youngmisuk: Sean Marks: "Kyrie has made it clear he has a choice in this matter. It is ultimately going to be up to him... we respect his right to choose. Right now what is best for the organization is the path we are taking."
Tim Bontemps: Sean Marks: "The hope is that we'll have Kyrie back ... we'll welcome him back with open arms under different circumstances."
Ohm Youngmisuk: Sean Marks: "I'm sure this is not a decision that (Kyrie's camp) like... he wants to be participating with his teammates. Again this is a choice that Kyrie had and he was well aware of it. We had multiple conversations and they were good. This is where we stand today."
Ohm Youngmisuk: Sean Marks on Kyrie Irving: "This is a decision ultimately Joe Tsai and myself made." He says others were involved in the process but that it came down to him and Tsai.
Ohm Youngmisuk: Sean Marks: "We had everything on the board. We looked at everything... At the end of the day, we are looking at putting a group of people out there that are going to participate fully. We are not looking for partners that are going to be halftime."
Malika Andrews: Nets GM Sean Marks says Brooklyn has decided Kyrie Irving may not practice or play with the group until he can be a “full participant.” pic.twitter.com/ton8xdCEX9
Mark Medina: Nets GM Sean Marks: “We have decided Kyrie Irving will not play or practice with the team until he is eligible to be a full participant.” pic.twitter.com/c8WjiUj8hi
Sam Amick: Kyrie, in essence, no longer a member of the Nets so long as he can’t be a full-time player. Wow. pic.twitter.com/kuQpqqltsu
Basketball great and Charlotte Hornets owner, Michael Jordan commented on NBA players hesitating or refusing to get vaccinated and clearly sided with the league’s coronavirus health and safety protocols. “Not at all. Not at all,” MJ replied on being concerned about the protocols during an interview with Craig Melvin on NBC’s “TODAY”, “I am total in unison with the league. And I think everybody has been speaking about vaccinations. And I’m a firm believer in science and I’m going to stick with that, and hopefully, everybody abides by whatever the league sets the rules. I think once everybody buys in, we’re going the be fine.”
Recently, on a Twitch stream, Brandon Goodwin revealed his side of the story, and it all starts with him receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. “I got sick and I never quite recovered from it,” Goodwin said on the stream, as posted on YouTube by Cosign Zee. “I would always have back pain, I was just super tired in the games.” Goodwin used Atlanta’s back-to-back against the Philadelphia 76ers on April 28 and April 30 as an example. “Bro, I was so tired,” he said. “I felt like I couldn’t run up and down the court. My back was hurting.”
“My back really started hurting bad,” Goodwin recalled. “Then, I’m like, ‘OK. I need to go to the doctor. That’s when I found out I had blood clots. That all within the span of a month.” Goodwin then left nothing up to the imagination when he revealed what he believed caused the health issues. “I was fine until then,” Goodwin said. “I was fine up until I took the vaccine, I was fine.” Blood clots have been reported as rare side effects of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Goodwin, who turned 26 on Saturday, remained optimistic about the future of his playing career on the stream. “I’ll be back on somebody’s team soon,” Goodwin said. “I don’t really know who yet.” He did confirm the Boston Celtics, a franchise he recently worked out with, and Golden State Warriors, a team he declined to sign with, weren’t in the running for his services.
Brooklyn Nets head coach Steve Nash finally revealed on Sunday that his team is preparing to play without Kyrie Irving this season as he continues to hold out from getting the vaccine. Irving then took to social media on Monday and got extremely cryptic.
Stefan Bondy: Sean Marks said he was confident every player would be vaccinated and both James Harden and Kyrie Irving would be “signed, sealed and delivered” with contract extensions before training camp. …This is not going according to plan.
Ian Begley: Nets coach Steve Nash says, as of now, team is operating under assumption that Kyrie Irving won’t be available for home games due to local vaccination ordinance. As he has said previously when asked about Irving, Nash notes that things can change at any moment.
Kristian Winfield: Steve Nash says Kyrie Irving will not travel with the team to Philly for tomorrow’s game against the 76ers. #Nets
Oakley doesn't think KI's absence will be that big of a deal, though ... after all, it helps they still have Kevin Durant and James Harden. "I think they can still win it with him playing this way," Oakley said on TMZ Live this week. "You still have James Harden and KD -- 2 of the top 5 best players in the league." Oakley -- who's coming out with his own cooking show, "Chopping It Up with Oakley," added, "They wasn't healthy last year, so you think if James Harden comes back healthy this year with KD healthy, they still can win it even if Kyrie play only half of the season."
Shams Charania: New York City has determined the Brooklyn Nets‘ practice facility, HSS Training Center, is a private office building – clearing Nets All-Star Kyrie Irving to practice at home, City Hall official tells @TheAthletic @Stadium.
Brian Lewis: Steve Nash on Irving being able to practice at HSS: “Its positive to be able to welcome him back into the building him and have him be part of the team…It sounds like its positive news.” #Nets #NBA
At this point, the Nets — both management and players — say they want Irving back on the court, but respect his privacy claims. “If he’s not on the court, yeah [it would hurt us]. He’s one of our best players and one of our leaders,” Harden said after practice Thursday. “I want him to be on the team, of course,” Harden told reporters when asked if he hopes Irving would get vaccinated. “He’s been a huge part since I’ve been here, a huge part of our success. The success we did have last year, we were kind of finding a rhythm, that chemistry that we’ve built. I can remember last year that one road trip we had, me and Kyrie. He’s just a special talent that you don’t really see often, so of course I would want him to be on the team. He’s one of the reasons why I came here.”
Sean Marks told Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer that while the issue may be roiling social media, he believes his team is doing just fine, thank you very much. “It’s definitely out in the Twitterverse more than it is in our locker room, without a doubt,” Marks said. “All I can tell you is what he’s told everybody: It’s a private matter, and he needs to talk to the right people and figure out in his close circle what he wants to do.” “It’ll work itself out, however it works,” Harden added, offering some optimism. “For us, it’s just keep chopping wood, keep treading water. Every single day we focus on things we can control, things that we can get better at. Our focus tomorrow is for us as a team, myself, Kevin and the entire organization is getting better tomorrow in the preseason game, and after that, every single day. Whatever happens, happens. But we’ve got to focus on what we can control.”
Of course on Friday, Irving’s private decisions becomes a public matter with his first missed game ... and first missed paycheck, $381,000. More and more questions will be raised about when Irving might get vaccinated or give a steadfast no to the vaccine. That hasn’t happened yet. Harden, who said he hasn’t spoken to his backcourt mate about his stand, was asked if he was disappointed. “It’s not disappointing at all. It’s not disappointing,” he said. “Kai believes in what he believes in. His family is behind him, we’re behind him. That’s all that it is.”
Kyrie Irving’s status in the league is no secret to anyone. Unless Irving changes his stance about getting vaccinated against COVID-19, the Brooklyn Nets guard will miss all of the Nets’ home games this season. It’s a big blow to a team with legitimate championship aspirations this season. At least one segment in the Nets organization seems to have resigned to life without Kyrie in the Barclays Center. A recent tweet has circulated amongst Nets fans, showing the team’s promotional emails. Noticeably, Irving is missing from some of these emails. How curious… (via The Glue Guys)
Shams Charania: Nets listed Kyrie Irving as out/ineligible for Friday’s preseason game vs. Bucks. It marks the first home game Irving will miss due to NYC’s vaccination requirement.
Alex Schiffer: James Harden said he wants Kyrie Irving to be a part of the team and adds he’s a huge part of what makes them scary. Hasn’t spoken to him on the vaccine, but would like to see the situation resolved. Irving has his support.
Tim Bontemps: The new COVID-19 vaccine mandate in Los Angeles has the same non-resident performer exemption in it that both New York City and San Francisco's did, meaning it will only apply, from an NBA standpoint, to the Lakers and Clippers. It was signed yesterday & goes into effect Nov. 29.
“I’m not going comment on Kyrie because that’s what Kyrie will be doing, making a decision,’’ Roberts told The Post. “But I will say you guys need to stop focusing on that 20-plus players who are not vaccinated. “Our numbers are 95, 96 percent [vaccinated]. That well beats the national average. What you need to do is ask what we can do to get the rest of the country to do what our players have done.”
Nets players who spoke with The Ringer seem unmoved by Irving’s vaccination status. Vaccine holdouts have caused an uproar in corners of the internet, but the Nets themselves don’t seem like a distracted group. Not yet, at least.
“It’s definitely out in the Twitterverse more than it is in our locker room, without a doubt,” Marks says. “All I can tell you is what he’s told everybody: It’s a private matter, and he needs to talk to the right people and figure out in his close circle what he wants to do.”
Shams Charania: Sources: NBA players were informed unvaccinated players who breach quarantine in Toronto face criminal offense. Unvaccinated players only able to leave hotel for team activities. Per Canada's Quarantine Act, violations could lead to up to 6 months in prison and/or $750K in fines.
Rather than potentially lose half of his $31.5 million salary this season – the NBA said last week that non-vaccinated players not granted a medical or religious exemption would not be paid for missed games this year – Wiggins acquiesced and was vaccinated last week. Curry says there will be no repercussions going forward. “We understand that there was something in terms of how he saw things and how he believed that it took a while, it took ’till last week for him to get vaccinated,” Curry said. “But I think the biggest thing is, I wouldn’t have looked any differently in terms of him as a human being had he decided ‘this is not what I want to do; I’m going to miss games and all that.’ I would have been a little disappointed, but it’s not that I would see him any differently as a human being, and how I’ve come to know him, especially the last two years. Thankfully, he did his part. He got outside of his comfort zone, and asked the right questions, got the right information, understood the ramifications for what was at stake, and got it done and now he’ll be available. That’s one part of it. But he also is a true testament to the greater good, what we’re all talking about, and how everybody, we feel, should kind of handle the situation, when it comes to making that decision and getting it done. I’m excited he’s going to be around. I’m excited that he made that decision, and that’s he’s going to be available for us.”
Why hasn’t there been more of a concerted public relations effort on the part of some of the bigger stars to get out front and emphasize the need to be vaccinated? “It’s a great question, and it’s one that amplifies, puts a spotlight on the fact that we all come from somewhere, and we’re all kind of products of our environment, in terms of just how we see the world, and how we operate, and where you fit, certain conversations in terms of social justice, public health, things that involve just sports,” Curry said. “As players, we’ve been very vocal and outspoken on a lot of different things, especially in the last couple of years around racial justice and police brutality and things that are impacting our societies, our communities. And we understand COVID falls into that category, for sure. But it’s been one within the NBA circles that’s always been a little confusing, I would say, for the general collective to truly understand how it’s affecting each one of us, in real-time. And I think that started back in February, March of 2020, and it’s continued to go, because there’s a nuance to the data and the research.
“I feel like, and I can only speak for myself in this situation,” Curry said, “I talked about it at media day, especially around Wiggs’ situation. I was very direct and clear about I got it, I felt it was the right thing to do for everybody, knowing it was safe, knowing that I’d asked the right people. There was still a sense of urgency on Wiggs, and figuring out when he needed to be vaccinated by to be available for the season and all that. But the ball was in his court. It wasn’t a time to, like, put an ultimatum on him or anything like that respect. So it’s a hard conversation to have, and that’s only speaking for myself. Like you said, there’s a lot of other guys around the league with a lot of different microphones and platforms, and they’re going to handle it the way that they see fit. I enjoyed the process of, like you said, reaching out to Fauci; I had two conversations with him, and put those on full blast, so that they were hopefully seen by a lot of people, and sharing the right information. But it is a collective effort. Ninety-five percent is solid; it’s not 100, but we’re hoping to get to 100 pretty soon.
Marc Stein: It would appear that the Lakers and Clippers will soon face the same vaccine mandates that the Warriors, Knicks and Nets currently face. More NBA from me: http://marcstein.substack.com
Brian Lewis: Kevin Durant on Kyrie Irving's absence: "I'm envisioning Kyrie being a part of our team. Maybe I'm just naïve, but that's just how I feel. But everybody here has that confidence in themselves and our group, that if we keep doing it we can do something special.” #Nets #NBA
Alex Schiffer: Kevin Durant said he hasn't counseled Kyrie Irving with his current situation because he doesn't go out giving advice. It's a personal situation and he wants Irving to be a part of the group. Durant said Irving is a special player and "it's hard to duplicate what he does."
Alex Schiffer: Steve Nash said he hasn’t spoken to Kyrie Irving about workouts when he’s not with the team. Appears whatever Irving is doing away from the facility in on his own.
Michele Roberts is still hoping to get NBA players vaccinated at 100%, but she rejects any criticism about her clients’ hesitancy and is prepared to fight the league on withholding pay, the union president told the Daily News. “We’ll see about that,” Roberts said Wednesday. “They’ve been reporting that we’ve agreed that if a player who was not able to play because of his non-vaccination status, they could be docked (pay). We did not agree. The league’s position is that they can. We’ll see. If we get to that point, we’ll see.”
“Our position is no,” Roberts said of the league punishing a player for being unvaccinated. “The league’s position is that we don’t need your agreement because the CBA allows that anyway. “It’s debatable. We’ll see. I’m not going to say it’s impossible, but I’m going to say it’s a bridge we’ll cross, if and when we get there. Right now, we’ve agreed that a player breaks protocols, that he can be disciplined to include some taxing of his comp. But not being vaccinated — because it’s not mandatory — in and of itself should not lead to any discipline.”
The Nets believe they're still a championship contender with a roster constructed around Kevin Durant and James Harden and could ultimately have to make hard decisions on Irving's future should he remain unvaccinated and unable to play in Barclays Center or Madison Square Garden.
If Irving remains unvaccinated, the Nets could soon be faced with a decision on whether they'll allow Irving to come and go with the team in and out of New York -- or just keep him sidelined all together, sources said.
Alex Schiffer: Steve Nash said the Nets don't plan to move practice out of their Brooklyn facility, to say...Long Island or New Jersey, in order to get Irving able to join them. "This is our home, this is where we're going to practice."
During the podcast, Steele took aim at Disney’s requirement that most employees get vaccinated against the coronavirus, calling it “sick,” and noting that she “didn’t want to” get a shot, though she did. She also indicated she was surprised that President Obama identifies as Black. Steele is also off the air because she recently tested positive for coronavirus, according to a person familiar with the matter. The anchor will not take part in ESPN’s espnW summit, which focuses on women in sports, and is expected to return to full duty sometime next week.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sources with @Brian Windhorst: The Brooklyn Nets remain unclear on All-Star guard Kyrie Irving’s ultimate intentions to get vaccinated and have made no decision on whether the organization will accommodate him as a part-time player this season. Story soon on ESPN.
Adrian Wojnarowski: There had been previous optimism Irving would get vaccinated and fulfill local mandates, but that hope is waning and Irving’s continued resistance to vaccination has Nets preparing for possibility they’ll be without him for home practices and games for foreseeable future.
Bobby Marks: Here is what Kyrie Irving stands to lose financially: $381,181 for every missed home game 💰2 preseason games: $762K 💰41 home games: $15.6M 💰2 games at NYK: $762K 💰Bonuses: $413K 💰Playoffs: TBD Irving is also extension eligible: 4 years/$187M
Ohm Youngmisuk: Steve Nash says Kyrie Irving is not with the Nets today at practice in Brooklyn. He says there “is no further update” on Irving’s status to practice or play in New York under the city’s COVID protocols.
Shams Charania: Kyrie Irving did not attend Nets practice today, sources tell me and @Alex Schiffer. Irving is currently ineligible for home games and practices because of NYC’s vaccination requirement.
Golden State Warriors swingman Andrew Wiggins on Monday explained his decision to get the COVID-19 vaccine, noting that he felt "forced" to do so in order to continue his NBA career. "The only options were to get vaccinated or not play in the NBA," Wiggins said after the Warriors' preseason opener at the Portland Trail Blazers, his first public comments since getting the shot. "It was a tough decision. Hopefully, it works out in the long run and in 10 years I'm still healthy."
May 21, 2022 | 12:31 pm EDT Update
The Sixers could look to get off Matisse Thybulle’s contract to create some wiggle room under the luxury tax, which looms large over the team’s offseason, and one team with known interest, according to league sources, is Chicago. Bulls GM Marc Eversley has had a fondness for Thybulle going back to early in his collegiate career at Washington, and was instrumental in pushing the Sixers to acquire him in the 2019 draft.
The Magic landed the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft thanks to Tuesday’s lottery, and NBA sources say there is virtually no chance they’ll trade off the pick unless it is a package that includes one of the other top-3 picks, as the Celtics did in 2017, trading to No. 3 to take Jason Tatum. That option might be available for the Magic, even if they are unlikely to accept it. “Other than No. 1, I think just about every team is going to be willing to talk about their picks in this draft,” one executive told Heavy. That starts with No. 2 Oklahoma City and No. 3 Houston.
Nuggets president Tim Connelly is heading to Minnesota this weekend as the next step in the Timberwolves’ recruitment of him, a league source confirmed to The Denver Post. Connelly, who’s overseen the Nuggets since 2013, is planning to meet with Wolves owner Glen Taylor. ESPN first reported the development. With a stable organization, a reigning two-time MVP and a place where his family is comfortable, Connelly has no reason to leave the Nuggets. The only X-factor? Compensation. It’s believed the Timberwolves’ offer is more than double his current salary. Minnesota’s interest didn’t come out of nowhere. In fact, it was discussed when Connelly, team governor Josh Kroenke and coach Michael Malone all went to Serbia to surprise Nikola Jokic with his MVP trophy. News of Minnesota’s interest in poaching Connelly from Denver got out on Wednesday. Publicly, it’s been more than 48 hours since Denver’s ownership has had a chance to counter or ensure Connelly doesn’t even listen to Minnesota’s proposal. Privately, they’ve had far longer than that.
Denver Nuggets president of basketball operations Tim Connelly is traveling to meet with Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor this weekend in the next step in the team’s pursuit to hire Connelly and make him one of the NBA’s highest-compensated executives, sources told ESPN. Connelly has discussed the job extensively with Timberwolves minority owners Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez in the past week, and meeting with Taylor is next in the process, sources said.
Chris Hine: Connelly and Timberwolves inching closer to a deal. Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez have had significant influence over the process, but Glen Taylor as current controlling owner still has the final sign off on any deal.
Mike Singer: News came out Wednesday night tying Tim to Minnesota. It didn’t come out of nowhere. There’d been interest for a while, & it was discussed while group was in Serbia. The #Nuggets & the Kroenkes have had ample time to address and/or counter. It doesn’t look like they’re going to.