ORLANDO, Fla. — The Nets were fined for letting unvaccinated Kyrie Irving into their locker room on Sunday, and Kevin Durant appears to have been chastened for calling out Mayor Eric Adams in support of his teammate.
The NBA fined the franchise $50,000 on Monday afternoon for having allowed Irving into the team’s locker room at halftime of its 110-107 victory over the rival Knicks at Barclays Center. And moments later, Durant released a statement clarifying his critique of Adams.
While Irving is permitted to attend home games now that the city’s indoor vaccine mandate was dropped — and he attended his first home game of the season — the private sector mandates still bar him from playing. And the league slapped the Nets with a fine for “violating local New York City law and league health and safety protocols” in letting him come from his courtside seat into the locker room.
Since the mandate requires employers to ensure their workforce is vaccinated, the NBA fined the Nets, not Irving.
In the moments after the game — in which Durant poured in 53 points to lead the Nets to the win — the former MVP called out Adams for not having repealed the mandate that currently bars Irving from suiting up but permits him to enter the arena and sit courtside while allowing unvaccinated foes to play.
“Yeah, I don’t get it,” Durant said after the win. “But at this point now, it feels like somebody’s trying to make a statement or a point to flex their authority. But everybody out here is looking for attention, and that’s what I feel the mayor wants right now is some attention. He’ll figure it out soon. He better.
“But it just didn’t make any sense. It’s unvaxxed people in this building already. We’ve got a guy who can come into the building, I guess are they fearing our safety? I don’t get it. We’re all confused. Everybody in the world is confused at this point. Earlier on in the season, people didn’t understand what’s going on, but now it just looks stupid. So hopefully, Eric, you’ve gotta figure this out.”
‘Eric’ of course would be Adams. And while there has been no public comment from His Honor, Durant took an entirely different — and more political — tone on Monday.
“The last two years have been a difficult and painful time for New Yorkers, as well as a very confusing time with the changing landscape of the rules and mandates. I do appreciate the task the Mayor has in front of him with all the city has been through,” said Durant, who was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week. “My frustration with the situation doesn’t change the fact that I will always be committed to helping the communities and cities I live in and play in.”
Guards Seth Curry (left ankle soreness) and Cam Thomas (back contusion) are both questionable for Tuesday at Orlando. Center LaMarcus Aldridge (right hip) and Day’Ron Sharpe (G League) are out, as are Joe Harris, Ben Simmons and David Duke Jr.