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Report: Nets stars pushed team to bring back Kyrie Irving before team’s major coronavirus issues

Nets stars James Harden, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 03: Kevin Durant #7, Kyrie Irving #11, and James Harden #13 of the Brooklyn Nets get together during a time out in the first half of a preseason game against Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on October 3, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

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The big question looming over Kyrie Irving’s return: How long will the Nets allow him to be a part-time player?

Initially, the Nets said they held Irving – already ineligible for home games due to New York City’s vaccine mandate – from road games because of chemistry concerns. The Nets say they’re allowing him back for road games because their chemistry and depth have been shot by coronavirus issues, anyway.

But the NBA is making it easier for players to return from the protocols. This wave of cases will pass – maybe before the playoffs.

So, where will that leave Irving if the Nets get healthy and he remains unvaccinated?

Here’s a clue: There was talk of Irving returning even before the Nets’ major coronavirus problems.

Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

The discussions about changing off of their stance started before the Nets’ roster got into COVID trouble, just from what I am told.
They pivoted. And they pivoted, I think, because their players – and their star players, in particular – made their opinions known.

Brooklyn has been an organization that caters to its stars. Would the Nets really pull Irving from road games if Kevin Durant and James Harden want him to play?

Maybe. But maybe not.

It might depend how Irving’s return goes. So far, everyone seems to be really glad he’s back.