Kyrie Irving has yet to play in a single NBA game this season.
As a result of New York’s mandates prohibiting unvaccinated players from participating in home games and his refusal to get his shots, the 29-year-old has been rendered unavailable all year.
Irving’s decision to not play has had massive ramifications.
Fortunately, change appears to be on the horizon.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, there is now a sense of “renewed optimism” around Irving’s return to the fold.
“There is renewed optimism around Irving returning to the Nets this season,” he wrote.
“It remains unclear whether Irving’s potential return this season would come via vaccination to meet New York City’s COVID-19 vaccine requirement or by Brooklyn opening the door for him to play road games and practice at home, but sources have indicated a renewed belief that Irving could play this season after all.
“Nets players and coaches want to have Irving rejoin the team as soon as possible. In recent weeks, Irving and Kevin Durant, his co-star and close friend, have had increased communication about his fit on the team, breaking down the games, and about life in general, sources added. There appears to be an increased level of enthusiasm between the two superstars.”
The Nets are 19-8 on the year and sit atop the Eastern Conference. The team has played incredibly well even without Irving, and it’s unclear what role that has had in spurning his newfound desire to return.
Just last week it came out that Irving was willing to get vaccinated under one very specific condition. How that factors into the equation remains to be seen.
Impressive stuff. https://t.co/p5mNh0dB7Y
— Game 7 (@game7__) December 12, 2021
Either way – Irving is objectively one of the best players in the NBA today. His return, should it happen, would immediately catapult the Nets into a clear frontrunner position as it pertains to winning a title.