KD believes Irving will be with Nets despite not getting vaccinated

Kevin Durant said he still imagines that Kyrie irving he will be part of the Brooklyn Nets’ championship quest, but he also acknowledges that it will be “difficult to duplicate what he brings in” if he can’t play at home in Brooklyn.

Irving missed his second consecutive day of practice in Brooklyn, as New York City’s COVID-19 protocols only allow players with at least one vaccine dose to practice and play. As uncertainty mounts every day about the All-Star shooting guard’s vaccination status and whether he will be able to practice and play at home with the Nets, Durant said the Nets “are eager to be a complete team” but also respect the Irving’s personal decision.

“I imagine Kyrie will be part of our team,” the star forward told reporters after Wednesday’s practice when asked if the talented Nets have enough to cover Irving if the point guard isn’t with the team for a while. extended time. “Maybe I’m just naive, but that’s how I feel. But I think everyone here has that confidence in themselves, in our group, that if we keep building, we can do something special.”

Sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Brian Windhorst that the Nets are unclear about Irving’s intentions to get vaccinated and that the organization has made no decision on whether to accept him as a part-time player this season. There had been previous optimism that Irving would get vaccinated and comply with local government mandates that would allow him to practice and play in New York this season. But sources told Wojnarowski and Windhorst that hope is waning, and Irving’s continued resistance to vaccination has the Nets bracing for the possibility that they will be without him for practices and home games for the foreseeable future. .

Head coach Steve Nash was asked if things had turned from the Nets’ previous optimism that the city’s vaccination mandate would not be a problem for the start of the season and if they would have everyone fine by then.

“I don’t know, I can’t answer that,” Nash told reporters. “As it is now, no. So we’ll see what happens. I really don’t want to speculate on something that’s currently on the air.”

Durant made it clear that Irving is vital to what the Nets want to accomplish this season. But I also wanted to give the point guard room on what the point guard wants to do about getting at least one vaccine.

“He’s dealing with something personal right now,” Durant said. “And while he’s dealing with it, we’ll focus on us here in the gym and keep working. When they’re ready to figure that out, he’ll figure it out.”

“I mean he is a special player, so it will be difficult to duplicate what he brings,” Durant added. “But professional sports are about the mindset of the next man, so we hope the guys will take on that role to the best of their ability.”

Irving practiced with the Nets at their training camp in San Diego last week. The Nets are currently at home where they will play Milwaukee on Friday. They play in Philadelphia on Monday before ending the preseason with another home game against Minnesota.

After the Nets open the regular season on the road in Milwaukee and Philadelphia, they will be home for nearly two weeks during a six-game home stay.

“I want him as part of this group,” Durant said. “He is a special player. We want him as part of this group. But many things are out of our control and we will let him find out for himself. It does not mean that I say I do not. I want him in the team. He is a great It’s part of what we do, but the guys need to step forward in his absence, be who they are and move on. “

Durant also said he wanted to avoid getting involved in Irving’s decision.

“I’m not really trying to get too involved,” he said. “He’s so much bigger than me and each of us individually. This is a man’s personal decision about his well-being, so I have to sit back and watch what’s going on and keep coming here and practicing every day and putting in every effort. repetition”.

“No, I don’t go out to give advice like that,” Durant added when speaking with Irving. “This is his decision, that is his choice, we all respect it, this is so much bigger than basketball. I don’t even feel comfortable talking to him about things like this. I’m just here to support and come here and do my job as one of the team leaders. “