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NYC plans to end vaccine mandate March 7, opening path for Kyrie Irving to play at home

The Nets PG should be able to play all regular season and playoff games in New York soon.

Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets looks on during the game against the Miami Heat on February 12, 2022 at FTX Arena in Miami, Florida.  Photo by Joseph Guzy/NBAE via Getty Images

February 27 update: Irving still has a private sector mandate hurdle to clear, according to Shams Charania.

February 27 update: New York City’s vaccination mandate for indoor venues is set to be removed on March 7 barring unexpected developments, meaning Kyrie Irving can return to play home games for the Nets this season. With the season winding down and the Nets hoping to get out of the play-in tournament, Irving’s full availability will be a welcome sign.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced Wednesday that the COVID-19 vaccine mandate is expected to be phased out, allowing Brooklyn Nets PG Kyrie Irving to play in home games. The mandate will be phased out in the coming weeks, so we can expect Irving to be able to play in home games for the NBA playoffs. To be clear, Adams and the City of New York aren’t lifting the mandate just so Irving can play home games.

Irving has only played 14 regular-season games this season after sitting out until around Christmas. The Nets and Irving decided it would be better if he at least was a part-time player, caving and allowing the All-Star PG to play again. Irving is averaging 24.1 points and 5.4 assists this season.

The Nets have played most of the past two months without All-Star Kevin Durant, who has been sidelined with a knee injury. Brooklyn also traded G James Harden to the Philadelphia 76ers in a deal involving Ben Simmons. Harden wasn’t happy playing in Brooklyn and forced another trade. Simmons is working his way back and is expected to play in the regular season at some point.

The news that NYC is planning on lifting the mandate isn’t that surprising. Futures odds had already baked that into the NBA championship odds. The Nets are +450 to win it all on DraftKings Sportsbook. Now that we know the mandate is being lifted, we could see those odds shift in favor of Brooklyn again. The Nets could end up being the favorite, though there’s still the question mark surrounding Simmons. He should get back on the court but we don’t know how effective he’ll be or what type of impact he’ll have on the Nets.