In the context of the Irving dynamics with the Nets, Bu…

In the context of the Irving dynamics with the Nets, Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo was asked how he would handle a similar situation on his own team. “When it comes to basketball, I feel like I can talk to them,” Antetokounmpo said. “When it comes to a personal decision like that, it’s … I’ve got to let them make their decision. They’re grown men. You know, and every situation is different. I cannot pressure somebody to do something that he doesn’t feel comfortable doing. I can tell you why I did it. Why I felt comfortable doing it. To protect my family, to protect my mom and stuff, stay safe, and you just hope he understands that. But if he doesn’t want to do it, I can’t keep pressuring him.

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"I told him how important he is, how much I want him to play -- play every game," Durant said after a 121-109 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. "But I'm not about to force somebody to get a vaccine, like that's not my thing. So he can play basketball? Nah, I'm not about to do that. "We've had conversations about wanting him to be a part of the team and conversations about him being here full-time, but that's on his time. Whatever decision he want to make, he's going to make. It's on us to be professionals no matter what, and do our jobs. All of us -- from the owner down to the equipment manager -- so whenever he ready, he'll be ready."
"I haven't even asked for an explanation," Durant said. "It ain't my place I don't think. So I'm ready for whatever, that's been my whole mentality. Whatever happens in this situation, I got to still be me, still go out there and represent the way I represent. I'm supporting whatever my team needs me to do, wants to do. "It's a weird situation, who knows? I don't understand most of this s---. COVID, all of this stuff has been crazy the last few years. So me, I just try to stay centered and focus on me. When Kyrie's ready to make decisions for himself he will, and I trust that."
I know it’s not the NBA’s call and I know it’s not the greatest of Covid downsides, but still: Isn’t this dumb? Isn’t this useless? Shouldn’t we say as much? I can tell you that people within the NBA are talking like this. It’s happening among the players, in basketball ops and with the trainers. Most are tired of what they see as Covid Kabuki.
About 70% of eligible NBA players have now received COVID-19 booster shots, sources told ESPN, a number that comprises about 350 total players -- more than half of a league that has a total player count typically hovering around 500.
Noah Levick: Matisse Thybulle said it was “very frustrating” being out again because of health and safety protocols. Thybulle said he felt fine and had different test results — negative, inconclusive, positive. He’s set to return tonight vs. the Spurs.
Brian Lewis: Kyrie Irving on whether he'd reconsider getting vaccinated; "I'm just taking it one day at a time. It’s not an ideal situation, and I’m always praying that things get figured out and we’re able to come to some collective agreement." #Nets #NBA
Shams Charania: Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving is expected to make his season debut Wednesday on the road against the Indiana Pacers, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. After missing the Nets’ first 35 games of the season, Irving has targeted Wednesday for his return.
The Brooklyn Nets are preparing for Kyrie Irving to make his NBA season debut Wednesday against the Indiana Pacers, sources told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. Irving, who is not vaccinated for COVID-19, hasn't played all season because of the Nets' decision before the regular season not to allow him to participate because of New York City's vaccine mandate.
Brian Lewis: Patty Mills on Kyrie Irving, aiming for his season debut at the #Pacers: “Everyone knows who he is and what he does; but I think he'll be able to bring that good pace and movement and ball movement to the group. At times we get stagnant and he'll be perfect for that.” #nets #nba
“Like I said at the beginning of the year, this is always something I’ve been thinking about,” Beal said. “It obviously came to a point to where I was like, ‘OK, let’s just get it out of the way and not have to deal with it.’ But there are a lot of questions I still have. Us around the league, we’re still trying to figure out how we can be better, how we can still be safe. “Ninety percent of our league is vaccinated, and we’re still going down like flies. So we’re just trying to make sure that we’re all protected. For me, selfishly, I’m more concerned about my father and my family. The last thing I want to do is see him in the hospital and on the table. So if that helps, then OK, I’ll do it. But I still have a lot of questions and concerns about it, for sure.”
As the Brooklyn Nets prepare for the return of Kyrie Irving, they do so believing that Irving's status as a part-time player, who only plays on the road, will not affect their continuity. "Have you watched him play?" Nets star Kevin Durant said after Thursday's 110-102 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. "He's a master. He can score 60%, 70% of his shots if you don't guard him. He's a high IQ player. It's just a matter of him getting his legs up under him and his wind up under him. And then for us we're going to run plays for him, we'll try to look for him. We play team basketball -- but he can adapt and do anything out there so we're not worried about him."
While it remains unclear exactly when Irving will make his debut, the most likely options are Jan. 5 at Indiana or Jan. 12 against the Chicago Bulls. Prior to Thursday's game, Nets coach Steve Nash said he hasn't discussed the possibility of a change in vaccination status with Irving since initial conversations in the preseason. Nash remains outwardly confident that Irving's role as a part-time player won't impact the Nets much whenever the 29-year-old plays again. "I may be a little naive but I think I just keep it really simple," Nash said. "Kyrie plays on the road and we figure out how he rejoins the group, finds his rhythm, and his place in the team and when we come home we're back to normal, the way we've been all year so I'm just trying to keep it really simple"
But the circumstances this winter are different. While nearly all players are vaccinated, team health officials note that almost one-third of players received the Johnson & Johnson single-shot dose, which offers the lowest level of protection compared to Pfizer and Moderna. There are concerns about waning immunity; only about 65% of eligible players have received booster shots, roughly 275 total players, sources say.
Shams Charania: Kyrie Irving's back and at the end of the day, they know that they need Kyrie Irving to win a championship. That's why they went and brought him back. That's why the players on the roster... it started with them from Kevin Durant on down, they wanted Kyrie Irving back in the fold.
Nets executives maintained that the unvaccinated point guard, of all people, could bail out his vaccinated colleagues from a roster-shattering cluster of breakthrough cases. “It’s ridiculous,” a former Nets official familiar with how the team’s stars boss around the bosses tells Rolling Stone. “That’s what you sign up for, when you get those players.”
Brad Hoylman, the New York state senator who introduced legislation that would expand vaccine requirements to visiting players and performers, tells Rolling Stone that Irving’s reinstatement is “an outrage” that has already helped normalize vaccine denial and super-spreader events: “It makes my blood boil that celebrities and professional athletes are getting a pass. And the rest of us? Our health is endangered, and we’re sick and dying. It’s the ultimate F-you to fans.”
Rivers rolls his eyes when he hears conspiracy theories in the locker room – “fucking wild theories”: the one about Moderna mind control again, and then the fake news about Joe Biden and Big Pharma in bed with the Illuminati for millions. “It’s all for money,” Rivers recalls hearing a fellow player say. “How’s it for money? It’s fucking free!”
Kyrie Irving’s return to the court — unvaccinated and part-time — is as seismic as it is controversial. The Nets aren’t naïve to that. But Nets owner Joe Tsai told The Post they’re not trying to champion a cause. They’re trying to be champions. And letting Irving play — even if it’s just on the road — gets them closer. “We’re trying to be practical. And I’ve always said I don’t want to make this a political issue,” Tsai told The Post by phone Friday night. “My only religion is to win games and win the championship. That’s where we are.”
But now after seeing the roster decimated and Irving expressing a desire to return, Tsai and Marks brought him back — with Durant and Harden on board. “So I think a lot of people that are either pro-vax or anti-vax people are mad at me for taking one stance or the other. But I have said from the very beginning I’m not taking this as a political thing,” Tsai told The Post. “I’m doing this to help the Brooklyn Nets win a championship. That’s the thinking.”
Nick Friedell: Iguodala on the Kyrie news: "Kyrie's my man, so I hope he shows his talent to the world and continues to prove me right that he's a top player ever. They don't want us to see his skillset, though. His mind's too free."
LaMelo Ball will rejoin the Charlotte Hornets in Portland for their game Friday night against the Trail Blazers. Ball has missed the team's last six games while in the NBA's health and safety protocols. The NBA Rookie of the Year last season, he's listed as questionable on the team's injury report for the game.
“I haven’t and I have no updates,” Nash said. “I have connected with him, but totally outside of the scope of the question and just [about] life in general. So, we connected last week, but not with any intel or insight that things are changing.
Players are not required to be vaccinated but those who are not face much stricter protocols. An estimated 97 percent of the league’s players were fully vaccinated. Increased game-day testing will begin this week for players who did not receive booster shots, depending on when they were vaccinated.
“You have a lot of supporters Kyrie,” Stockton told fellow vaccine skeptic podcast hosts Chad Fisher and Tony Farmer. “Not all them of can get to you, and you can’t get to all of them, but there’s every bit a majority out there that’s sitting there pulling for you. They’re just not quite as bold as he is. I’m proud of him as an individual to take that kind of individual risk and be that bold for what you feel is right.”
John Stockton is now dishing assists to Kyrie Irving and anti-vaxxers. While taking aim at “serial felon” vaccine manufacturers and “segregation” mandates, Stockton applauded Irving’s stance against the jab and pled with the Nets point guard to “hang in there.” The comments were part of the Hall of Famer’s interview with the DNP-CD Sports Podcast, which will be released Monday through Hot Pie Media.
Stockton, 59, the NBA’s all-time assist leader, had previously appeared in a vaccine conspiracy documentary while citing his “significant research” into COVID-19. On the podcast, Stockton said doctors are unknowingly peddling a dangerous vaccine because of fraudulent research pushed by pharmaceutical companies.
Stockton said he would’ve “trusted the doctors” and taken the vaccine early in his playing career, but would’ve resisted once he became more established and educated. “There’s not a chance I would risk any of that to play,” Stockton said. “My hope would be other guys would join in. And all of us lock arms. And none of us play.”
The COVID-19 vaccine, including Pfizer’s, was proven safe and effective through extensive clinical trials. Long-term side effects are “extremely unlikely,” according to the CDC. But Stockton claimed he’s certain the vaccines are harmful. “I can see it on the Internet,” he said. “And I know people. So indisputable.”
Adrian Wojnarowski: Any unvaccinated NBA player with temporary VISA status leaving the country will be unable to re-enter the United States, according to a memo obtained by ESPN. For example, a player would be unable to re-enter after playing in Canada, or traveling outside U.S. on All-Star weekend.
Shams Charania: Sources: Beginning Jan. 15, any NBA player who is not fully vaccinated will be unable to enter Canada to play games in Toronto. Canadian government will require all individuals entering Canada to be fully vaccinated.
The Nets still have championship aspirations, and the presence of Irving, who averaged 27 points, five rebounds and six assists last season, would certainly help in achieving that goal. They are still paying the seven-time All-Star for the road games he misses due to the team’s decision to not employ him as a part-time player for away contests. “From what I’ve seen, they’re still a good team without Kyrie, but they definitely need him,” former Nets guard Deron Williams recently told Bally Sports. “I hope everything gets figured out. But as far as my thoughts on Kyrie, he’s doing what’s best for him. I respect what he wants to do.”
Irving has not been sitting idly. According to people close to him, the seven-time All-Star has been working out pretty regularly, focusing on cardio, weight training and meditation, and spending time with his immediate family. “This is the happiest that I’ve seen Kyrie in years,” one source said.
Those closest to him also have shared that Irving knows anything he says will be magnified and scrutinized and he doesn’t want to be viewed as an anti-vaxxer. He’s not taking this stance to be a voice for the voiceless. He’s just not trusting of the available vaccines, according to sources.
Tim Reynolds: The NBA is up over the 60% mark now in eligible players having received booster shots. There will be a huge push to get that much higher in the coming days.
Adrian Wojnarowski: ESPN Sources: The NBA’s completed study with infectious disease specialists and testing manufacturers on preseason antibody test results of 2,300 players and staff, finding further evidence of need for the NBA-NBPA recommendation of booster dose of Covid-19 vaccine. Among study’s findings: Antibody levels vary via vaccine type and among people vaccinated in same period; antibodies decline over time; Moderna and Pfizer vaccines created higher levels of antibodies compared to J&J. After reviewing results, NBA’s infectious disease experts believe some individuals who received J&J vaccine at least two months ago – or a second dose of Pfizer or Moderna at least six months ago – have increased risk of breakthrough infections.
Adrian Wojnaroski: Per study, NBA's aware of 34 cases of vaccinated player or staff diagnosed with breakthrough case of Covid. 3 of 34 infections with individuals with "not detected" antibody levels; 31 of 34 had detectable antibody levels much lower than average of remaining testing population.
The Memphis Grizzlies, in partnership with the Shelby County Health Department (SCHD), announced today a pop-up COVID-19 vaccination event at Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum (adjacent to FedExForum) on Friday, Nov. 26, from 5-7 p.m. There will be 100 doses of the Pfizer-Biotech COVID-19 vaccine available for eligible persons aged 12 and older. Vaccine recipients at the event will each receive two Terrace Level tickets for that night’s game against the Atlanta Hawks.
Unvaccinated professional and amateur athletes will no longer be able to travel to Canada as of January 15, minister of public safety Marco Mendicino said on Friday. Currently, NBA and NHL players who have yet to receive one of Canada's approved COVID-19 vaccines are able to enter the country under a national interest exemption.
Those who remain unvaccinated will soon be unable to play games in Toronto against the Raptors or in any of the seven Canadian NHL teams' home arenas. It is unclear whether unvaccinated Canadian athletes who play for American teams would be able re-enter the country with their teams. However, beginning November 30, vaccination will be required for travel within and out of Canada.
When Joel Embiid will return from Covid-19 protocols Pompey: From what I’m hearing, it’s fluid. The earliest he can return is Thursday (Nov. 18). I’m hearing it could be a little later than that because he was symptomatic when he contracted Covid-19. Not only does he have to get the two negative tests and quarantine, Joel is one of these guys that when he takes time off, he’s a big guy and easily gets out of shape. He hasn’t been doing anything basketball-wise. Even once he comes back and is cleared, there’s probably going to be a return to play process taking place… He could return Thursday (Nov. 18), but I think it’s going to be a couple of days after that, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was next week or once they get back from this road trip because they’re playing at high altitude.
After Towns received his COVID-19 vaccination, he shared a picture on Instagram. George left a comment that made light of the concerns about the vaccine: “They say it shrinks your foot.” It was a moment where people who may not have understood the dynamics of Towns and George’s relationship may have thought George was being insensitive or sharing skepticism of the vaccine. But both men say that wasn’t the case at all.
“First of all, he called me personally, and was like, ‘You already know it’s a joke, right?'” Towns said of George’s comment on the Instagram post. “I was like, ‘Oh yeah, for sure.'” “I wasn’t thinking of it that way, obviously,” George acknowledged. “But the obvious is, you know, I’m sensitive to the situation. And it was probably not the best joke at the time. But I didn’t mean it in that way. Until people brought it to the attention of, you know, they’re trying to go left and right with it.”
Brandon Robinson: Kyrie Irving's vax choice is his @Spencer Dinwiddie tells me: "Everybody has their own decision to make and it’s not on me to make that decision for him. I believe that in any form, fashion or life so you know, he has to do what’s best for him and I’m not the man to judge at all."
Mark Medina: Lakers coach Frank Vogel said team plans to meet tomorrow to talk to players about COVID-19 booster shots, but said he didn’t have full details on everything that will be discussed
Noah Levick: Joel Embiid is now the fourth Sixer in the health and safety protocols, source confirms @Shams Charania. He joins Tobias Harris, Isaiah Joe and Matisse Thybulle.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: What’s especially bothersome is that Aaron Rodgers didn’t just lie and threaten the health of those around him, he also damaged professional sports. Many athletes make a lot of money on product endorsements, which depends on the public’s favorable perception of athletes. In 2020, global sports sponsorship was worth about $57 billion. Yet, every time a pro athlete like Kyrie Irving (anti-vax), Henry Ruggs (speeding at 156 mph, crashing, and killing someone), Evander Kane (forging vaccination card), or Aaron Rodgers does or says something stupid, the public trust in athletes lowers and sponsors might consider avoiding players in favor of actors, pop stars, or social media influencers. Steph Curry and LeBron James don’t have to worry, but some up-and-comers might not get the same opportunities.
Chris Rock stands with the medical community in supporting as many people as possible rolling up their sleeves to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. On Wednesday, he spoke out on the subject while at the mic, opening for the Strokes at the venue Brooklyn Steel. He also called out one unvaccinated person in particular: Kyrie Irving, a point guard for the NBA's Brooklyn Nets, who has refused to comply with New York City's vaccine mandate that professional athletes be vaccinated to practice or play in public venues. "Where's my anti-vaxxers at? Where you at?" the former Saturday Night Live star said. "You f****** dumb Kyrie motherf******."
And supporters that almost got out of control on Opening Day in Brooklyn. Now, Adrian Wojnarowski says Irving has “some hope, some optimism” that New York’s Mayor-Elect, Eric Adams, might possibly change the mandate that’s keeping him off the court when the new mayor takes office on January 1. Here’s how Woj explained it in talking with ESPN colleague Mike Greenberg Wednesday... “Eric Adams, the Mayor-Elect of New York City, talked today about revisiting possibly January 1 when he takes over, the city’s vaccine mandates for government workers and there’s some hope, some optimism, including, I’m told, around Kyrie Irving, that revisiting may also include performers and athletes including Kyrie Irving.”
A change in the New York City Mayor’s office could pave the way for Kyrie Irving to return to the Brooklyn Nets in 2022. Mayor-elect Eric Adams plans to “revisit” the city’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate rules once he takes office, according to the New York Post. “We need to revisit how we are going to address the vaccine mandates. Now, I stated I did not want to Monday-morning-quarterback the mayor [Bill de Blasio]. This is his time to be the man, he has to make the decisions,” Adams said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” per the Post.
He added on CNN’s “New Day” that “I hope the mayor -- and I am encouraging him to do that -- to sit down with unions and come to a resolution. And if he doesn’t, if this is still going to January, I’m going to sit down with them and we’re going to get this resolved.” The Nets last month banned Irving, a West Orange native, from practices and games because he’s not vaccinated against COVID-19. The team has said he can only return as a “full participant,” meaning either he gets vaccinated or New York’s regulations change. Irving is projected to lose about half of his $35 million salary this season as a result, but still gets paid for road games.
Mayor-elect Eric Adams vowed to “revisit” the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for municipal workers when he takes office and reach a “resolution” on the matter, as he took an election victory lap Wednesday morning. During a series of media appearances the day after he handily beat Republican opponent Curtis Sliwa, the Democrat also repeatedly promised he wouldn’t step on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s toes regarding the controversial jab order. “We need to revisit how we are going to address the vaccine mandates. Now, I stated I did not want to Monday-morning-quarterback the mayor. This is his time to be the man, he has to make the decisions,” Adams said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
As Kyrie Irving remains away from the Nets, refusing to adhere to the city’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate, the team has moved on without him. Tuesday afternoon, in an ironic twist, the Nets and Liberty teamed up with Gov. Kathy Hochul to offer free tickets to anyone who gets vaccinated at Barclays Center — which Irving has been unwilling to do. “I think the message is that the team itself supports vaccinations,” Hochul said, when asked directly about Irving’s decision not to get vaccinated. “The vast, vast, vast majority of their players are vaccinated, and they’re here to support making sure that members of the community are vaccinated. That’s the takeaway from today’s event.”
Tim MacMahon: Mavs G Trey Burke, who is not vaccinated, is out vs. Spurs tonight due to Covid protocols. Kristaps Porzingis will sit at least the first game of the back-to-back due to the lower back tightness that caused him to exit early in Tuesday’s win.
Floyd Mayweather has stepped into the NBA ring involving Kyrie Irving and local COVID vaccine mandates. In a video posted to Twitter on Monday, Mayweather declared that he respected the Nets star for "having some integrity and being your own man." Under New York City's guidelines, unvaccinated Knicks and Nets players are not allowed to enter their home arenas for games. Knowing that Irving would only be available for road games until he is vaccinated against COVID-19, Brooklyn decided before the start of the 2021-22 regular season that Irving will not play or practice with the team until he is "eligible to be a full participant."
"America is the land of the free: freedom of speech, freedom of religion and, supposedly, freedom to choose. Never be controlled by money. I respect you for having some integrity and being your own man. A free mind makes his own choices, and a slave mind follows the crowd. Stand for something or fall for anything. One man can lead a revolution to stand up and fight for what's right. One choice, one word, one action, can change the world. It's crazy how people hate you for being a leader. I hope your actions encourage many others to stand up and say enough is enough.
Security staff at the venue are seen trying to push the protesters back away from the doors, while chants of “Let Kyrie play” ring out. The arena was forced to briefly go into lockdown until the situation was brought under control, a spokesperson for the Barclays Center told The Independent.
“Only ticketed guests were able to enter the building and the game proceeded according to schedule.” An NYPD spokesperson confirmed to The Independent that no arrests were made over the altercation.
The Mavericks will soon lift their requirement that fans show either proof of full COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test within 48 hours to attend home games. At least as long as Dallas County data complies. As the daily average case count in Dallas County remains below 500, which it reached last week, the Mavericks will ease their health and safety protocol for fans, Mark Cuban told The Dallas Morning News.
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June 28, 2022 | 8:15 pm EDT Update

Knicks trade Nerlens Noel, Alec Burks to Detroit

Adrian Wojnarowski: The Knicks are trading center Nerlens Noel and guard Alec Burks to the Pistons, sources tell ESPN. The Knicks will unload $19M more in salary, clearing the way for cap space to try and sign free agent guard Jalen Brunson.