The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic wreaked havoc in the NBA last year, placing over 100 players under the health and safety protocols toward the end of 2022.
The league had to postpone several games with teams looking to bring in on hardship contracts due to the unavailability of their stars in the first months of 2021-22. During the season, 605 players make at least one appearance — a new NBA record, beating the previous campaign’s number by 65.
Also, players who refused to get the COVID-19 vaccine couldn’t travel to Canada for games against the Toronto Raptors. Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer reports the travel restrictions on the Canadian border will remain in place, preventing unvaccinated NBA players from playing the Raptors:
Sources: NBA informed teams via memo today that, as it stands, non-vaccinated NBA players without a valid medical reason will still be ineligible to play in Toronto for the 2022-23 season.
— Jake Fischer (@JakeLFischer) August 8, 2022
As of now, the NBA still considers players vaccinated if they haven’t been boosted.
The news could bear significance for the Los Angeles Lakers, who have been pursuing Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving throughout the summer — the most outspoken critic of vaccine requirements who has refused to get the shot.
Irving’s future remains uncertain amid the turmoil in Brooklyn. On Monday, reports claimed Kevin Durant met with the Nets’ owner, Joe Tsai, and maintained he wants to leave the organization.
However, Durant is believed to have given Tsai an ultimatum, telling the billionaire businessman to choose between him or general manager Sean Marks and head coach Steve Nash.
Tsai shows support for Nets front office & coaching staff as NBA drama continues
Not long after the details of the conversation between Tsai and Durant came out, the Nets’ owner publicly offered support for his team’s leadership.
“Our front office and coaching staff have my support. We will make decisions in the best interest of the Brooklyn Nets.”
With that being the case, a Durant trade may happen in the near future, which could lead to the Lakers landing Irving once the dust has settled.
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