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The Brooklyn Nets Released A Statement Saying That Kyrie Irving Cannot Practice Or Play With The Team In Any Capacity Until He Is Vaccinated

I think it's extremely important to point out that this was not a decision made solely by the front office. As Woj noted last night, this was a Brooklyn Nets decision. Not quite top to bottom, more like top to... well the layer right below the top. It's still a player's league, this decision - while the Nets are presenting it as one coming from the top - is coming from Kevin Durant and James Harden as much as it is coming from Sean Marks and Joe Tsai. 

I believe it is an important distinction because it shows the power still lies with the players, only with the actual star players. Much like when he forced his way out of Cleveland, Kyrie overestimated his hand. Back then he wanted to be a franchise player, prove himself to be THE guy. He failed, he admitted how much harder it was than he anticipated, he linked up with Kevin Durant. When it was just Kyrie and KD, Kyrie was second in command. Once the Nets went out and acquired James Harden in the middle of last season, Kyrie got knocked down to third string. He very much has the chance to be one of the greatest third options in NBA history should he choose to be, as we sit here on October 12 I don't know what he's going to do. I stopped trying to predict what Kyrie Irving is going to do years ago. That's a fool's errand if I've ever seen one. 

But make no mistake about it, this is a landmark decision from the Brooklyn Nets. They could have easily bent the knee and allowed Kyrie to play half the season - road games only - and then see what the world was like come playoff time. Perhaps restrictions would be lifted and this would render itself moot by then. Instead they took a second to really assess the situation and take a stand. The Nets realized they were dealing with someone closer to Andrew Wiggins than Steph Curry, and that there was no reason to allow him to have control. If he wants to force himself out and retire, so be it. Kyrie Irving, for as prolific a talent as he is with the ball in his hands, is a luxury for the Brooklyn Nets. They were centimeters away from knocking off the eventual champion Milwaukee Bucks a year ago, and that was with James Harden playing at 30-percent health. The Nets have title aspirations that they need to focus on, there isn't any time to debate the merits of Youtube University with their third best player. That's the reality of the situation. If Kyrie were the guy, or even the second guy, I genuinely don't think they would have come out this strong against him. 

Now we wait and see what Kyrie will do. Which, and I cannot stress this enough, could be absolutely anything.