Retired Los Angeles Lakers legend and 15-time All-Star Shaquille O’Neal believes the Brooklyn Nets should trade Kyrie Irving. However, it is not for the reason some fans are thinking. The four-time NBA champion is feeling that Irving is hurting his team by refusing the COVID-19 shots.
In a podcast interview with “Tiki and Tiemey,” O’Neal stated, “I would go upstairs and say, ‘Get him out of here. We can win with a two-punch and a great shooter and some rebounders like we got. Get his a– out of here.” Shaquille hinted that everyone is entitled to their own opinions, and freedom of choice is important.
Shaq shares his thoughts on Kyrie’s situation in Brooklyn.
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) September 30, 2021
Unvaccinated NBA players will be penalized
Though, the NBA’s health and safety protocols for COVID-19 will place unvaccinated players at a disadvantage. “Of course, if I played with him, I’d be in charge all the way, all day. Whoever owns the Brooklyn Nets, get him up out of here. In this game of ours, sometimes you have to think about others instead of yourself.” Vaccinated players can still test positive for the virus, but rules are rules. It is a sticky situation.
Unvaccinated players will not be allowed on their team’s bus. Not to mention, unvaccinated players will not be paid for the games they could miss. Furthermore, Shaq also said, “Now, Kyrie has his own views and his opinions. I’m not going to knock that. He does have an obligation because he took that $200 million. Once you sign up for this life, there is no privacy. And you have to accept it.”
Shaquille O’Neal makes a lot of great points. Why would any NBA team want to keep an All-Star player if he is going to be a liability? Injuries are one thing, not following the rules is something else entirely. Per Bovada, the Nets have the best odds (+250) of winning the 2022 NBA Finals. Those odds could drop in the future if Irving misses several games.
Unvaccinated NBA players
Moreover, like everything else occurring today, there are always two sides to an interesting story. Unvaccinated players have emphasized and reiterated countless times that they are not anti-vaccinators. Dividing the country and using coercion will not solve the problem. Fair arguments from various players have already been presented.
Orlando Magic power forward Jonathan Isaac is the perfect example. Aside from Irving and Isaac, there are other unvaccinated players across the NBA. The more popular ones include Andrew Wiggins, Bradley Beal and Michael Porter Jr.
These aforementioned players are all concerned about the long-term side effects of the vaccines. Regardless of where one might stand on this divisive topic, the NBA’s rules are clear. And, New York and San Francisco mayors are requiring vaccine mandates.