The Brooklyn Nets announced this week that Kyrie Irving would not be permitted to serve as a part-time player for the organization.
New York requires all pro athletes who practice or play indoors to show proof of at least one vaccine shot. Because Irving refuses to get the COVID-19 vaccination, he cannot participate in Nets home games.
There was initially some speculation that Brooklyn would allow Irving to suit up for away games, but the Nets’ announcement cemented that they weren’t interested in that sort of arrangement.
And apparently that decision has led to some friction between Irving and Kevin Durant.
According to ESPN insider Ohm Youngmisuk, Durant and Irving have not talked since the latter was essentially shelved by the Nets.
“Kevin Durant says he has not spoken to Kyrie Irving since Tuesday’s news of the Nets saying Irving will not play or practice with the team,” he wrote.
The fact that Durant and Irving have not communicated since Brooklyn’s decision to not let him play part-time is startling. The pair is extremely close, with Durant even going so far as to veto the Nets’ attempt to trade Irving this past offseason.
All that being said, regardless of what frustrations may exist behind closed doors between Durant and Irving, the Nets star spoke positively of his teammate on Thursday.
“Definitely want Kyrie to be around,” Durant said. “I wish none of this stuff would happen, but this is the situation that we are in. Kyrie made his decision on what he wanted to do and he chose to do what he wanted to do, and the team did the same.
“It’s on me to just focus on me, and do my job, and let those two parties handle that situation. I want our whole team together, and I want us to be at full strength, but sometimes it don’t work out that way. But I am still positive that things will work out the best for both parties.”
Fellow Nets star, James Harden, said something similar about the matter a few days ago.
Meanwhile, team head coach Steve Nash appears tired of talking about Irving altogether.
Steve Nash said he didn’t listen to Kyrie Irving’s Instagram live last night
“I really want to focus on moving forward” pic.twitter.com/0ieBfcUjfQ
— Nets Videos (@SNYNets) October 14, 2021
“I think I’ve pretty much said everything I have to say about it,” he said in regards to his troubled guard. “If something changes, we can talk about it; but I really want to focus on moving forward and our group and solutions to the challenge ahead of us.”
The Nets have a big year ahead of them, and it appears as though they are moving forward under the assumption that Irving will not rejoin the team any time soon.
When Terry Bradshaw saw what Erin Andrews was wearing, he couldn’t help himself. https://t.co/Yg0qPqcErK
— Game 7 (@game7__) October 15, 2021
How will they ultimately fare without him? Time will tell.