Brooklyn favored to win NBA title despite Irving absence

Published on 10/14/2021
By Staff
Kyrie Irving
Kyrie Irving
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Brooklyn are still the strong favorite to win the NBA championship this season, and that's with or without the Kyrie Irving standoff resolving itself.

Nets GM Sean Marks announced Tuesday that Irving will not be allowed to play for the team until he is fully eligible to do so, which means he would need to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Irving is part of Brooklyn's star-studded lineup that includes Kevin Durant and James Harden. That star power has led all major sportsbooks to make the Nets the preseason title favorites. And during this standoff they remain favorites despite Irving's uncertain status moving forward.

"Given the Nets' statement today that Kyrie won't be permitted to have 'part-time availability', it will be interesting to see how aggressively the market reacts if the Nets get off to a slow start and/or it becomes clear that Irving is truly prepared to sit out the entire season over getting vaccinated," BetRivers sportsbook manager Zach Schlouch told Field Level Media.

The Nets remain the +230 title favorites with some bookmakers, and they remain significant favorites to win the East at +105. The next favorite in the conference is defending champion Milwaukee at +350.

Irving, 29, has thus far declined to be vaccinated. While Marks said the team respects his personal choice, it also is not willing to accommodate Irving only playing in road games.
In 582 career games (all starts) with the Cleveland Cavaliers (2011-17), Boston Celtics (2017-19) and Nets, he has averages of 22.8 points, 5.7 assists and 3.8 rebounds.

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