The announcement that Brooklyn Nets fans have been waiting for all season long may have just been made. Well, maybe. We're not certain yet. But there's more hope than there has been at any point all year.

Recently the Governor of New York State, Kathy Hochul made the decision to relax vaccine and mask mandates at the State level. Then NBA Commissioner Adam Silver expressed his opinion that he found it odd that unvaccinated players can perform in cities like New York while local athletes, like Nets' superstar Kyrie Irving, cannot. And NYC Mayor Eric Adams suggested he was “struggling” with local vaccine mandates as well.

All of those winds of change may have reached a tipping point Sunday.

According to Manhattan Borough President Mark D. Levine, Mayor Adams is lifting mask mandates in public schools and has proposed an end to critical vaccine mandates for private businesses, effective March 7th:


If that went into effect, and applied to the Barclays Center, it would immediately allow Irving to appear in 17 of the Nets remaining games instead of the mere seven he's eligible for now.

But we're not celebrating just yet. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, there's still a possibility that Irving would be restricted from performing. But he could enter the building. Mayor Adams has spoken specifically about how the rules don't make sense and may have been written by a Boston Celtics fan. It would be a little weird if he made a major change that happened to not apply to this very controversial issue involving a local basketball team.

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If somehow this did apply to Kyrie and he could play, that would be a massive boost to a team who has competed shorthanded all season long.

And according to Mayor Adams' own personal Twitter account, because the COVID-19 numbers are at an acceptable rate, showing lower levels of risk, that as long as they stay on this path, the city will remove the Key2NYC vaccine mandates for entertainment venues.

If the city doesn't make changes to venues like the Barclays Center it won't signify a change for Irving and the Nets. Fans of this team must now continue to hope for the COVID numbers to remain as low as they are or even improve. We'll wait for more clarity on whether or not this changes the calculus for Kevin Durant and company.

Irving has only played in 15 total games thus far. The Nets are 5-10 in that span. Durant looks like he's trending towards playing next Thursday vs. the Miami Heat. Ben Simmons is reportedly on Durant's heels for his debut, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

There's at least a path towards a much healthier and more available Nets squad. After exploding for 38 points on the road in a monster win vs. the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday, Irving reminded us all how impactful he can be. There would, in theory, be some scary times ahead for the rest of the Eastern Conference if Irving were suddenly a full-time player again. And it would make his signing long-term in Brooklyn more of a sure-thing than it was weeks ago too. This is potentially some of the biggest news of this entire season. We'll wait to learn more about what may change and what implications it could hold for Irving.