New York Notes: Irving, Nets, Rose, Kemba, Lessort

Nets guard Kyrie Irving won’t be in attendance at the team’s Media Day on Monday, according to Zach Lowe and Brian Windhorst of ESPN (Twitter link). However, Lowe and Windhorst say Irving will accompany the team to its training camp in San Diego, and Malika Andrews of ESPN (Twitter link) cites a team spokesperson who says Kyrie will talk to reporters via Zoom later today.

Irving’s status will be an important storyline to follow this preseason. A report last week indicated that Irving remains unvaccinated against COVID-19 — that’s especially problematic in New York, where the city requires individuals to be fully vaccinated in order to gather in indoor venues. Those regulations may prevent Irving from practicing or playing with the Nets in Brooklyn.

As Matt Sullivan of Rolling Stone detailed in a fascinating report over the weekend, Irving has emerged as one of the NBA’s most high-profile anti-vaxxers and seems unlikely to easily budge from his stance. However, his teammate and good friend Kevin Durant didn’t convey any concern during his Media Day appearance on Monday morning, telling reporters that the team trusts in Irving and expects to have the whole roster available “at some point” (Twitter link via Brian Lewis of The New York Post).

Here’s more on the NBA’s two New York teams:

  • The Nets‘ new jersey sponsorship agreement with brokerage platform Webull will be the most lucrative such deal in the NBA, according to Jabari Young of CNBC, who hears that it’ll pay the team about $30MM per year. The club put out a press release today announcing its partnership with Webull.
  • Derrick Rose isn’t expecting any sort of training camp battle for the Knicks‘ starting point guard job, telling reporters today that newly-added veteran Kemba Walker will enter the season as the starter. I’m not worried about minutes,” Rose added, per Steve Popper of Newsday (Twitter link).
  • French big man Mathias Lessort, a 2017 second-round pick, has signed with Maccabi Tel Aviv, the Israeli team announced in a press release. The Knicks currently hold Lessort’s NBA rights, having acquired them from Minnesota in a 2020 trade.
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