Just hours after he released a statement to address the ongoing Kyrie Irving/COVID-19 vaccine drama, Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks held a "hastily scheduled" virtual news conference to talk with media members about the team's decision.
Marks' statement on Tuesday morning said that Irving would not play or practice with the team until he is eligible to become a full participant under local COVID-19 vaccination requirements.
Marks said during Tuesday afternoon's presser that Irving's decision not to comply with New York City's COVID-19 vaccine mandate left the organization "no choice" but to send him away from the team, according to ESPN's Tim Bontemps.
"He has a choice to make, and he made his choice," Marks said. "Again, my job here is to make what we deem as the best decision and best choices for the organization moving ahead as a whole. They're not always ones that are going to be met with open arms and a thumbs-up. These are hard decisions. Just like I'm sure it wasn't easy for Kyrie either to have to make that [decision] to not be around his teammates."
New York City's current COVID-19 vaccine mandate requires a person to have proof of at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot to enter indoor gyms, including both Barclays Center and Madison Square Garden, home of the Nets and New York Knicks, respectively. With those rules in place, Irving was set to miss 43 regular-season games - the 41 home games, plus two road games against the Knicks - as well as another two preseason games in Brooklyn.
The GM confirmed Tuesday that Irving would only lose money for those games, an amount accounting to approximately $380,000 per contest.
Marks was asked if fellow Nets' "big three" members Kevin Durant and James Harden were consulted on the team's decision and said that everyone in the organization was aware of what was going on, but Marks and owner Joe Tsai were the one who made the call. The GM was asked directly whether the point guard was vaccinated.
"Well, if he was vaccinated, we wouldn't be having this discussion. I think that's probably pretty clear," Marks responded.
The Nets are scheduled to open their 2021-2022 regular season on the road against the Milwaukee Bucks at 7:30 p.m. ET on Oct. 19.