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Report: Renewed optimism Kyrie Irving will play for Nets this season

Nets star Kyrie Irving

NEWARK, NJ - DECEMBER 01: Brooklyn Nets’ Kyrie Irving watches the action during the second half of the college basketball game between the Seton Hall Pirates and the Wagner Seahawks on December 1, 2021 at the Prudential Center in Newrk, NJ. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Nets star Kyrie Irving chose not to get vaccinated. New York appears unlikely to change the vaccine mandate that bars Irving from playing Brooklyn home games. With the team choosing to sit Irving for road games outside New York and practices, Nets owner Joe Tsai was adamant that he sees Irving playing only road games as untenable.


Shams Charania of The Athletic:

There is renewed optimism around Irving returning to the Nets this season, sources with knowledge of the situation tell The Athletic.

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.

Nets general manager Sean Marks was once confident Irving would meet New York City’s vaccine mandate as training camp opened. Fool me once…

Irving has sounded open to getting vaccinated (on his own timeline). Perhaps, his concerns have now been addressed. The vaccines are generally safe and effective at reducing contraction, severe outcomes and spread of coronavirus.

Perhaps, Kevin Durant could pressure the organization into changing its stance on sitting Irving for road games. If the franchise player wants something, it often happens. The Nets have been particularly conducive to their stars.

But for Irving to return, something must change. This report is too vague about what that will be to feel convinced.