Then they brought him back as a part-time player when the Omicron variant was surging not only around the NBA.
However, back in December, New York City Mayor Eric Adams finally lifted the mandate that prevented unvaccinated athletes such as Irving to participate in games in New York City.
The caveat to that mandate, however, was that opposing unvaccinated players were able to partake in games in NYC.
There was a lot of uncertainty before the Nets brought Irving back into the fold. Trade rumours were swirling; uncertainty arose about Irving never being able to play home games again due to Irving's persistent refusal to get inoculated.
And the mayor's office not backing down in their decision to keep the mandates in place.
But due to several New York Yankees and New York Mets players also being unvaccinated, pressure eventually mounted to the point where Adams pretty much had no choice but to lift the mandates set by his predecessor, Bill de Blasio.
What does this mean for the Nets' Championship chances?
The Nets were given a huge shot in the arm by having the ability to re-integrate Irving into their lineup, as Irving is easily one of the top players in the league with his ability to score in a multitude of ways.
His ability to take defenders off the dribble, pull up from anywhere on the court, and finish at the rim with moves only he can do on a nightly basis creates some eye-popping numbers on the stat sheet - as well as masterpieces that some could argue are better than Pablo Picasso - has ever created in his lifetime.
This is a guy that averaged nearly 27 points per game on 50/40/90 shooting splits last season, but what even makes this team even more dangerous is that it has Kevin Durant, who is playing at as high of a level that he's ever played, leading this team.
Irving's presence opens up the floor for many of the role players to go out and get their fair share of looks out there, including Bruce Brown and Seth Curry.
Brown can continue to feast off of cuts off the ball to the rim and take advantage of all the space available to him to get his floaters off. Curry will continue to feast off of wide-open looks from three as well.
Everybody knows what Irving can bring out there on the court.
Down the stretch of playoff games, where defenses tighten up, Irving's unpredictability and ability to create his own looks in a multitude of ways will significantly help the Nets pull off wins against the toughest teams in the league.
If health holds up, the Nets may well be the team to beat!
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