With Kyrie Irving recently rejoining the Nets part-time, the team is adjusting to his limited availability.
After impressing in his season debut against the Pacers, Irving was unable to speak for a home game against the defending champion Bucks due to New York City regulations for people who are not vaccinated against COVID-19. As a result, the Nets lost up to 24 points while the Bucks achieved a head-to-head victory.
MORE: Inside Nets’ struggles against the best teams in the league
It is clear that Irving’s presence was greatly missed. Following the loss, Kevin Durant was asked if he had spoken to Irving about his part-time availability, to which he provided an honest response.
“I told him how important he is, how much I want him to play every game,” Durant began. “But like I said, I’m not going to force someone to get vaccinated, like, that’s not my thing. So I can play basketball? No, I’m not going to do that.”
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Kevin Durant talks about Kyrie Irving:
“I’m not going to force anyone to get vaccinated. So you play basketball?
KD also added: “It’s a weird situation. Who knows? I don’t understand most of this COVID shit, this has all been crazy in recent years.” pic.twitter.com/CzoPjecyvx
– Networks Videos (@SNYNets) January 8, 2023
After Nets general manager Sean Marks said Irving would not be allowed to participate part-time before the season, the franchise changed course in mid-December, paving the way for Irving’s return to the game. lineup to start the new year.
MORE: Why did the Nets let Kyrie rejoin the team?
Durant admits that while he won’t force Irving to make a decision one way or another, they have had conversations about his availability. Durant said that ultimately it is a personal choice.
“We’ve had conversations about wanting him to be part of the team and conversations about him being here full time, but that’s on his time,” Durant added. “Whatever decision he wants to make, he will make it. It’s up to us to come here and be professionals no matter what.”
MORE: Team-by-team COVID tracker
The Nets fell to 24-13 on the season with the loss to the Bucks, good for second place in the Eastern Conference. As much as Irving helps the team in games outside of Brooklyn, the Nets are actually 14-3 on the road and 10-10 for pedestrians at home.
The problems can run deeper than not having Irving around.
2021-22 Network Calendar
|Date||Adversary||Time (ET)||national television|
|January 9th||against Spurs||12:00 pm||–|
|January 10||in Trail Blazers||10:00 pm||–|
|12th of January||in bulls||10:00 pm||ESPN|
|January 13th||against thunder||8:30 pm||–|
|January 15||against pelicans||7:30 pm||–|
|January 17||in the knights||3:00 pm||–|
|January 19||in magicians||7:00 pm||–|
|January 21st||on the Spurs||8:30 pm||–|
|January 23||in the timber wolves||8:00 pm||–|
|January 25||against the lakers||7:30 pm||TNT|