How Kyrie Irving Sitting Out Impacts Brooklyn Nets Futures Odds, Betting Outlook
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets.
The Kyrie Irving saga with the Brooklyn Nets took yet another massive turn when the team announced it would not allow Irving to practice or play with the team until he can be a “full participant.”
Irving has been evasive regarding his vaccine status, mostly speaking in cryptic language, but it’s been an open secret for weeks he’s unvaccinated. New York’s mandate applies to players playing at home in the market.
The mandate does not apply to visiting players so Irving would have been eligible in other cities with mandates like Los Angeles and San Francisco. He also would not be eligible for the Nets’ two away games vs. the Knicks, unless he were to be vaccinated.
The Nets now say he won’t play at all under the current circumstances.
“Given the evolving nature of the situation and after thorough deliberation, we have decided Kyrie Irving will not play or practice with the team until he is eligible to be a full participant,” Nets general manager Sean Marks said in a statement.
“Kyrie has made a personal choice, and we respect his individual right to choose. Currently the choice restricts his ability to be a full-time member of the team, and we will not permit any member of our team to participate with part-time availably. It is imperative that we continue to build chemistry as a team and remain true to our long-established values of togetherness and sacrifice.
“Our championship goals for the season have not changed, and to achieve these goals each member of our organization must pull in the same direction. We are excited for the start of the season and look forward to a successful campaign that will make the borough of Brooklyn proud.”
The Nets are the title favorites and in the moments following the news remained so. At PointsBet, Brooklyn is +215. The Nets are +240 at BetMGM, ahead of the Lakers at +400. PointsBet pulled the win total off the board, but BetMGM kept it at 56.5. DraftKings left it up at the same number.
Impact on the Nets’ Season
Irving’s absence has been a known unknown in the market for roughly a month. League insiders had been curious how the Nets would handle it, and the decision to bar Irving from activity until he’s fully vaccinated surprised some.
“Impressed they did the right thing for the team, that’s hard to do when it’s a superstar,” one longtime league insider said Tuesday.
There is an assumption that Kevin Durant (and to some degree, James Harden) signed off on the decision which only adds to the intrigue.
Meanwhile, 99% of Nets win total money is on the under at BetMGM, relative to 66.7% of the tickets, while at DraftKings 71% of the handle relative to 60% of the bets were on the over. The Nets have significant handle on Eastern Conference and title futures at BetMGM, DraftKings, and PointsBet.
Irving may still yet choose to get the vaccine and join the team. He took to Instagram to address fans on Wednesday evening:
Kyrie Irving address his stance on not getting the vaccine on IG Live: “It’s about choosing what’s best for you. You think I really want to lose money? You think I really want to give up on my dream to go after a championship? You think I really just want to give up my job?” pic.twitter.com/cYHCWGbnCo
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) October 14, 2021
If he chooses to sit out, the Nets will not have any cap relief to provide them with wiggle room to add talent. There are restrictions as well on salary inclusion in the event that Irving chooses to retire, a possibility raised by league insiders over the past month.
SuperBook’s Jeff Sherman told The Action Network’s Darren Rovell there was no change in title odds based off the news. The win total was adjusted down one game, and the game line for Brooklyn’s first two games were adjusted. However, the Christmas Day game against the Los Angeles Lakers remained the same.
“I would be surprised if he fights it all year,” Sherman said.