After making his 2021-22 NBA season debut last Wednesday, Kyrie Irving is now available to play for the Brooklyn Nets, at least on a part-time basis after the point guard rejoined the team and teammate Kevin Durant gave his opinion on Kyrie not being vaccinated.
Irving’s talent was on display from that first game against the Indiana Pacers, putting up 22 points, 3 rebounds and 4 assists. However, he had to miss the home game against the champion Milwaukee Bucks because of New York City’s regulations for people who are not vaccinated against COVID-19.
Kyrie’s new absence did not go unnoticed and the Nets were outplayed by the Bucks121-109, even coach Steve Nash confessed that he remains hopeful to count on the point guard for the games at the Barclays Center.
This time it has been Durant who has spoken to the media, daring to give his opinion about Irving’s decision not to be vaccinated, despite the consequences it represents.
“I told him how important he is – how much I want him to play every game,” Durant said. “But like I said, I’m not about to force somebody to get a vaccine, like, that’s not my thing. So he can play basketball? Nah, I’m not about to do that.”
What did Durant say to Irving?
In addition, the small forward said he has talked to Irving about how much the team needs him on the court, though without seeking to pressure him to change his decision.
“We’ve had conversations about wanting him to be a part of the team and conversations about him being here full-time but that’s on his time. Whatever decision he wanna make, he’s gonna make. It’s on us to come in here and be professionals no matter what,” Durant added.
Despite months of assurances from Nets general manager Sean Marks that Irving would not be allowed to play part-time, the Brooklyn franchise reconsidered in December in light of the high number of positives they had on their roster.