Star guard Kyrie Irving had a drama-filled first two seasons with the Brooklyn Nets, continuing to find himself at odds with the media and missing numerous games for non-injury reasons.
Heading into the 2021-22 campaign, it doesn’t look like this is going to change any time soon. The NBA champion remains one of the few players around the Association that has not been vaccinated against COVID-19.
Taking into account local New York City mandates, this means Kyrie Irving could force to sit out home games throughout the 2021-22 season. Said mandates indicate that unvaccinated individuals can’t attend large indoor events due to a spike in case stemming from the Delta variant.
In talking about this recently, Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated focused on the Irving situation from a trade perspective. To say it’s not good for the championship-contending Nets would be an understatement.
“I was asking around a couple of teams, just for their opinion on the trade value of Kyrie Irving: it’s virtually zero. I mean, he makes $35 million this year, and he’s as unpredictable as you get,” Mannix said on The Crossover podcast.
This shouldn’t be seen as too much of a surprise. Despite his status as one of the best players in the NBA, Irving’s unpredictability seemingly makes him a net negative in a potential trade. Even before the entire COVID-19 situation, there were concerns about his mentality and whether Irving even wanted to continue with his NBA career.
Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets’ 2021-22 season
Coming off a 2020-21 campaign in which Irving, Kevin Durant and James Harden all missed extended time to injury, these Nets are considered odds-on favorites to come out of the Eastern Conference.
Obviously, the Irving situation will play a role in this. He remains one of the most-dynamic point guards in the NBA. In fact, he’s coming off a career-best performance that saw the former No. 1 pick average 26.9 points, 4.8 rebounds and 6.0 assists on 51% shooting from the field.
Given the report from Mannix, it makes more sense for Brooklyn to wait this entire situation out rather than looking to trade Kyrie Irving. Even having him play half of the team’s games in 2021-22 is likely a better option than trading for a lesser player, especially if he has “zero” trade value.