The biggest question hanging over the Nets remains: Will Kyrie Irving play this season?

The seven-time All-Star has already missed a third of the 2021-22 season, and it is unclear when (or if) he will return to the court. Under New York City guidelines, unvaccinated Knicks and Nets players cannot enter their local stadiums for games, and Irving is currently not complying with COVID-19 health and safety protocols. Before the start of the season, Brooklyn general manager Sean Marks announced that Irving would not play for the Nets until he was “eligible to be a full participant.”

But maybe something has changed recently. Athletic’s Shams Charania reported Monday that there is a “renewed sense of optimism” about Irving’s possible return.

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Why are the Nets optimistic about Kyrie Irving playing this season?

New York City Mayor-elect Eric Adams made it clear in November that the city would not change its policies, so there are only two options for Irving and the Nets: Irving will get fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or the team will allow it. be a part time gamer. Charania did not state the reasoning behind the optimism, only pointing out that Brooklyn players and coaches “want Irving to rejoin the team as soon as possible.”

There has also been a “higher level of enthusiasm” between Irving and Kevin Durant, who admitted the team was feeling the effect of Irving’s absence amid some early season struggles.

“Yeah, we miss Kyrie. We do,” Durant said in October. “He’s part of our team, but for the most part, we’ve been generating great shots. We’ve been getting into the paint. It’s just a matter of taking them down. I think it will come.”

Irving fueled rumors of a comeback by posting a video of him wearing the Nike Kyrie 8 shoe shortly after the Charania report was released. However, it is possible that it is simply a case of Irving promoting the latest edition of his shoe.

How Kyrie Irving could return to the Nets

To be a “full participant” for the Nets, Irving would need to receive two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or one shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. If he’s not vaccinated, Brooklyn could let Irving play away and not play at home. It would also be available for practices at the team’s facilities because the city determined that it qualified as a “private office building” rather than an indoor gym.

While it seems highly unlikely that Adams will lift the term anytime soon, Nets coach Steve Nash has previously said that if the city were to change its policies, Irving would return to the fold and not necessarily need to be vaccinated.

“He could be speaking out of turn, but I think if he changes the term, he will be welcome for sure,” Nash said in November.

Could the Nets trade Kyrie Irving?

Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer reported Tuesday that Brooklyn “has been open to discussing changes for Irving,” but none of the Nets’ conversations have generated “significant traction.” It would be a huge surprise if the Nets decided to trade Irving, not only because they want him to help them in their quest for a championship, but also because potential suitors would have no guarantees that Irving would stick around beyond this season.

Irving is two years old and has roughly $ 71 million left on his current contract, but he has a player option for the 2022-23 season. If Brooklyn traded Irving, he could play the 2021-22 season and then pick another team in free agency.

If Irving remains unvaccinated later in the season, the Nets may be forced to change their stance. However, as of now, it’s hard to imagine Brooklyn moving Irving around, especially if the team is feeling really optimistic about his return.

Nets Upcoming Schedule 2021-22

(All the eastern time)

Date Adversary Hour National television
December 14th against raptors 7:30 pm
December 16 against 76ers 7:30 pm NBA TV
Dec. 18 against magic 7:30 pm
Decembre 19th against nuggets 7:30 pm NBA TV
December 21 against magicians 7:30 pm TNT
December 23th in Trail Blazers 10 p. M.
December 25th in the lakers 8 p. M. ABC / ESPN
December 27 in Clippers 10:30 pm NBA TV
December 30 against 76ers 7 pm NBA TV
January 1 against Clippers 7:30 pm