The one-star fax status could bode well for Aussie basketball player Patty Mills, who is preparing for his first season with the Brooklyn Nets.
The fax status of Kyrie Irving’s Covid-19 could open the door for Aussie star Patty Mills to take center stage in his first season with the Brooklyn Nets.
Mills lined up for the Nets for the first time in their preseason clash with reigning champions the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday (AEDT).
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Late last month, coach Steve Nash said Mills already had an “incredible” impact on the Nets ‘culture and clearly wanted to reward the Boomers captain with playing time — Mills played 19 minutes of the Nets’ four-point win at Barclays Center, scored 10 points to go with three assists and two rebounds.
Going forward, Mills could be the beneficiary of New York State’s strict vaccination policy — in New York, professional athletes must be vaccinated against Covid-19 in order to train and play indoors.
This means that if Irving is not vaccinated, he will miss all 41 home games of the Nets regular season, including two clashes with the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden.
The Nets remain unclear about whether Irving plans to be vaccinated in the future and the 29-year-old Australian-born guard has not fared well in recent media reports.
Brooklyn is also yet to reveal whether Irving will remain a full-time player all season if he refuses to roll up his sleeves. The Nets have no risk of having to pay Irving for missed games if they choose to keep him on the books – Irving loses an estimated $ A520,000 ($ US380,000) for every game he sits.
The uncertainty over Irving’s playing status could bode well for Mills, as well as for recently recruited guards Jevon Carter, Cameron Thomas and Edmond Sumner, who could play themselves extra minutes if Irving chooses not to remain vaccinated.
An NBA champion in San Antonio whose Olympic campaign proved he can still match the best of them, Mills sees a strong chance of becoming a starter in the regular season if Irving stays at home.
The clock is ticking for Mills’ teammate to make a decision on his vaccination status – the Nets will face the Bucks again on October 20 (AEDT) for their first game of the regular season.