Kyrie Irving has become a liability.
When Kevin Durant was making his free agency decision in 2019, there were plenty of rumors surrounding where he would ultimately go. Some felt as though he would come back to the Golden State Warriors, while hopeful New York sports fans thought it was a done deal that he would join the Knicks. Instead, KD went to Brooklyn Nets alongside Kyrie Irving. At the time, it was reported that Kyrie and KD were always going to team up together and that in the end, it was Kyrie who chose Brooklyn over New York. Needless to say, if it weren't for Kyrie, KD would have never gone to Brooklyn.
Just a year later, the Nets found themselves with a third superstar on the team in James Harden. Harden wanted out of Houston and with two big players on the Nets, he knew that Brooklyn was the place to be if he wanted to win his first NBA title. Last season, things didn't go as planned as Kyrie hurt his ankle in the second round of the playoffs, which ultimately led to elimination at the hands of the eventual champion Milwaukee Bucks. Heading into this season, fans were convinced that 2021-22 would be their season, as all three stars would be healthy. Unfortunately, those plans have been wiped away due to Kyrie's stance on the COVID-19 vaccine.
While Kyrie claims he isn't anti-vaxx, he is still refusing to get the jab. In some cities, this would not be a problem, however, there are strict restrictions in Brooklyn that would keep him from playing home games without a shot. In fact, Kyrie would have to miss 45 games this season due to mandates in opposing markets. While Kyrie was eager to take on a part-time role with the team, the Nets quickly told him that such a thing was simply not possible. The Nets are not going to tolerate any player dedicating only half of their time to the team, which is certainly a good precedent to set, given Kyrie's history with treating the NBA like it's a part-time job that he can clock in and out of.
As of right now, there is a lot of discourse surrounding whether or not Kyrie is being selfish with his decision. Quite frankly, Kyrie can do whatever he wants with his body. Any reasonable person can agree that we should have full control over our bodily autonomy. If you don't want to get the vaccine, that is simply your right. However, when you are part of a team, and that team requires its players to be vaccinated, there becomes a very conflict. Everyone on the Nets was willing to do whatever it took to be able to play this year. Kyrie, on the other hand, is trying to make a statement on behalf of the "voiceless," who just so happen to be about 40 percent of the United States.
Sarah Stier/Getty Images
Given his constant backpedaling and circular speak, it's clear that Kyrie has no interest in getting the vaccine, and no one on his team is going to be able to convince him otherwise. KD and Harden are his two most prominent teammates, and as they have noted in the media, they have no clue where Kyrie truly stands right now. After following him to Brooklyn with the promise of a championship, they have been left in the dust, and it's not a good look for anybody. This is ultimately why the Nets need to trade Kyrie immediately.
When Kyrie is healthy, which isn't often, he is one of the best point guards in the NBA. As of today, however, Kyrie isn't even injured and he still can't play. As a result, he, effectively, holds no value to the Brooklyn Nets organization. The Nets' point guard situation is now mangled, and they have nothing to show for it. If the team were to trade Kyrie, they could get a very serious haul in return, and that haul would certainly have to include a point guard. The big issue here is that the Nets are limited as to who they can make a trade with given the various mandates around the United States. Not to mention, any team that trades for Kyrie has to prepare for the possibility of him not being available for away games in the postseason depending on who they are playing against in any given series. Regardless of how you look at it, the Nets are in a near-impossible situation.
Sarah Stier/Getty Images
This doesn't mean something can't get done, it just means it might take a bit more persuasion for a team to bite. Perhaps the Nets will even partner up with the Philadelphia 76ers, who are looking to get rid of Ben Simmons right now. Given the fact that most teams don't want to give up too much for Simmons, Kyrie could prove to be the perfect bargaining chip. Of course, there are also the rumors that Kyrie will retire if he's traded, although that seems to be more of a bluff than anything else. The Nets can do whatever they want with the point guard, and if they find a willing trade partner, it will be up to Kyrie to suck it up and report to his new team.
Once again, Kyrie does not have to take the vaccine. Only he knows what is best for his body. With that said, the Nets know what is best for their franchise, and at this moment, Kyrie just does not fit that bill anymore.