Kyrie Irving isn’t expected to return to action for the Brooklyn Nets this week, and potentially beyond, as the NBA investigates his recent whereabouts.
ESPN’s Malika Andrews and Adrian Wojanarowski reported that the former Celtics guard will miss at least Wednesday’s game against the New York Knicks and Saturday’s clash with the Orlando Magic.
While it’s unclear exactly why he missed the last three games due to “personal reasons,” videos that circulated Monday night might be part of the story. Irving was spotted, without a mask, dancing and celebrating his sister Asia’s birthday on a confetti-covered floor.
Sources with @Malika_Andrews: As the NBA is expected to begin examining online videos circulating of a maskless Kyrie Irving at a family birthday party, there’s no belief that he will return to the Brooklyn Nets lineup this week.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 12, 2021
He appears to be in great spirits in the videos, but the NBA likely won’t view the situation quite as favorably. The league’s COVID-19 guidelines ban players from going to clubs, bars, and lounges, and they also ban attending social gatherings of more than 15 people.
Sean Marks, the general manager of the Nets, said the team is aware of the video and is reviewing the circumstances with both Irving and the NBA.
“Kyrie remains away from the team due to personal reasons,” Marks said in a statement. “A date of his return has net to be finalized. In the meantime, we will continue to stay focused on our organizational goals. Kyrie will have the opportunity to address his absence when he is ready to do so.”
Nets GM Sean Marks on Kyrie Irving: pic.twitter.com/fMHQuXAlHR
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) January 12, 2021
Wojnarowski and Andrews noted that the investigation comes during a “turbulent week,” as the league is re-evaluating its coronavirus health and safety rules. Four games, including the Celtics’ matchups with the Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls, and Orlando Magic have been canceled, and it’s possible more will follow.
For reference, when Houston Rockets star James Harden was seen partying without a mask at a club during a Christmas party, he was fined $50,000 and had to quarantine for four days while returning daily negative COVID-19 tests. He never missed a game.
At the moment, if a player misses a game for a COVID-19 violation, they would lose 1/72nd of their salary.
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