Skip to main content
Larry Brown Sports Tagline. Brown Bag it, Baby.
#pounditThursday, January 20, 2022

Articles tagged: Kyrie Irving

Nets issue statement explaining Kyrie Irving decision

Kyrie Irving

The Brooklyn Nets offered an explanation for their decision Friday to welcome Kyrie Irving back as a part-time player.

The Nets confirmed reports that Irving was set to return to the team for any games and practices he is eligible for as an unvaccinated player. In their statement, the Nets cited “our current circumstances” as well as the chance to “more optimally balance the physical demand on the entire roster.”

This serves as an admission that Irving’s return has everything to do with the team’s circumstances and little to do with any change on Irving’s part. As noted in the original report on Irving’s return, the Nets have seven players in health and safety protocols, and that does not even include injuries to the likes of Joe Harris. That has forced coach Steve Nash to ask a lot of Kevin Durant and James Harden, both of whom are averaging over 36 minutes per game despite being over 30 with histories of injury.

Irving had hinted at a possible return earlier in the week as the Nets’ issues piled up. This has clearly been in the works for a little while.

Report: Kyrie Irving preparing to play after Nets change stance

Kyrie Irving wearing his Nets uniform

Kyrie Irving is getting ready to play for the Brooklyn Nets as a part-time player after the team changed its stance on the guard, according to reports.

Irving has not played this season because he has declined to get the COVID-19 vaccine. New York City has an indoor vaccine mandate, which would have prevented Irving from participating in the team’s home games. Rather than let Irving play in road games, the Nets told him to stay home indefinitely.

Now they have changed their stance.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski says the Nets are willing to let Irving be a part-time player. He also says Irving is still declining to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Multiple professional sports leagues are currently seeing a heavy increase in positive COVID-19 tests among their players, although most cases have been asymptomatic. The increase in positive cases has resulted in several teams seeing players be sidelined. The Nets have multiple players out either due to injury or health and safety protocols.

The Nets are at a point now where they can’t afford to shun a player over the vaccine. They need some actual help on the floor and are willing to be flexible and allow Irving to play in road games, which is an outcome for which he has been hoping.

Photo: Feb 1, 2020; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) during the second half against the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Durant staying mum on Kyrie Irving rumors

Kevin Durant dribbles down the court

Kyrie Irving has not played for the Brooklyn Nets this season due to New York City’s vaccine mandate, but there has been a lot of buzz recently about him potentially returning. Kevin Durant has no interest in fueling that speculation.

A report on Monday claimed there is “renewed optimism” that Irving could return to the Nets at some point this season. The same report said Irving and Durant have had increased communication recently and been breaking down games. Durant was asked about that on Tuesday. He said he’s not going to share any conversations he had with Irving.

Durant and Irving are close friends. They intentionally teamed up together in Brooklyn, so it’s no surprise they have kept an open line of communication. The logistics of how Irving could return to playing remain a mystery, however.

Irving does not appear to have changed his stance on the COVID-19 vaccine. He could technically still play in road games in cities where there is no vaccine mandate, but the Nets don’t want him to do that.

The Nets are 20-8 and have the best record in the Eastern Conference. They are a championship contender with or without Irving, but the star point guard’s return would obviously boost their odds. Some people felt that a video clip Irving posted on social media this week was a hint that he is getting ready to return. Time will tell.

Photo: Oct 11, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) in action against the Philadelphia 76ers during the first quarter at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Did Kyrie Irving drop hint about potential return to Nets?

Kyrie Irving

Kyrie Irving remains ineligible to play in any Brooklyn Nets home games, but buzz is suddenly building about his potential return this season.

A report on Monday claimed there is “renewed optimism” that Irving could suit up for the Nets in the near future. New York City’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate is still in place, and Irving is unvaccinated. It’s unclear if he plans to get vaccinated or if the Nets might allow him to play in road game.

There was more speculation on Tuesday because of Irving’s Instagram activity. He posted a brief clip of him putting on his basketball sneakers, which some interpreted as a hint that he is preparing to return.

Irving hates the media, so he will probably say people are blowing the video out of proportion, even if he knew it would draw a reaction.

The Nets are 19-8 and have played well without Irving. They’re arguably the best team in the Eastern Conference without him but would be the clear favorite to win the East with him. A recent report claimed there is only one path to Irving playing this season, but other outcomes now seem possible.

Photo: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Kyrie Irving could return to Nets this season

Kyrie Irving wearing his Nets uniform

Kyrie Irving has remained away from the Brooklyn Nets due to his vaccination status, but there is reportedly a belief within the organization that the star point guard could play this season.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, there is “renewed optimism” that Irving could return to the Nets at some point in the near future. It’s unclear if Irving plans to get vaccinated or if the Nets might allow him to play in road games.

Irving is said to have had increased communication recently with Kevin Durant, who is his close friend. The two have been breaking down games and discussing Irving’s fit during some of their conversations. Charania was told there is an “increased level of enthusiasm” between the two star players.

New York City recently elected a new mayor. There was initially some talk about the mayor-elect lifting the vaccine mandate, but it does not sound like that is going to happen. That means Irving will have to get the COVID-19 vaccine if he wants to be eligible to play in home games.

The Nets may want some sort of resolution before the Feb. 10 trade deadline. They have received several trade inquires from teams but have not entertained them to this point, according to Charania.

The Nets are 19-8 and have played well without Irving. They’re arguably the best team in the Eastern Conference without him but would be the clear favorite to win the East with him. A recent report claimed there is only one path to Irving playing this season, but other outcomes now seem possible.

Photo: Feb 1, 2020; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) during the second half against the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Kyrie Irving reportedly only has one path to playing this season

Kyrie Irving wearing his Nets uniform

Kyrie Irving remains ineligible to play for the Brooklyn Nets, and there may be only one realistic pathway for the seven-time All-Star to play this season.

Shams Charania of The Athletic said during an appearance on “The Pat McAfee Show” Thursday that Irving has no plans to get the COVID-19 vaccine. New York City has also given no indication that it will drop its vaccine mandate, meaning Irving still cannot play for the Nets. According to Charania, the only way Irving is going to play this season is if Brooklyn trades him.

“He’s not anywhere closer to getting the vaccine. So if he’s not gonna get the vaccine, at the end of the day, he’s not gonna play basketball unless he gets traded,” Charania said. “Unless the Nets come out suddenly and say, ‘Fine, Kyrie, we’re gonna let you play road games and practice at home, we’re changing our stance. We’re gonna now let you come back’ Or, unless Kyrie Irving goes and decides to get the shot, there’s not really an end in sight here.”

A trade involving Irving is not out of the question. Charania noted that the Nets remain open to moving him in the right deal. You can hear more about the situation below:

New York City recently elected a new mayor. There was initially some talk about the mayor-elect lifting the vaccine mandate, but it does not sound like that is going to happen.

The Nets are 15-6 and have been the best team in the Eastern Conference even without Irving. There were some rumors that Irving might consider retirement, but that doesn’t look like an option at this point. Him sitting out the entire 2021-22 season does.

Photo: Feb 1, 2020; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) during the second half against the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

NBA star has Kyrie Irving extremely high on his list of all-time point guards

Kyrie Irving wearing his Nets uniform

Kyrie Irving was not selected for the NBA’s 75th Anniversary team this year, but one NBA star thinks that Irving is better than many of the greats at the point guard position who did make the cut.

Golden State Warriors veteran Andre Iguodala spoke this week with Sam Amick of The Athletic and revealed that the Brooklyn Nets star Irving is very high on his list of the greatest point guards of all-time. Iguodala has Irving fourth behind only Magic Johnson, Steph Curry, and Isiah Thomas.

“Magic, Steph, Isiah. [They’re] the only guys that I will allow you to say are better than Kyrie,” Iguodala said. “CP [Chris Paul], I’m not mad at, but I’ve got Kyrie. But people will argue that Kyrie hasn’t played enough games.”

When Amick mentioned Steve Nash specifically as a point guard who might be ahead of Irving, Iguodala argued that Nash is “not even nowhere close to Kyrie.” Iguodala added that he could argue that Chauncey Billups or Mark Price were better than Steve Nash.

Irving’s resume is as follows — he is a seven-time All-Star, a three-time All-NBA selection, and an NBA champion. But it is hard to see how that puts him ahead of point guards such as all-time assists and steals leader John Stockton, Hall of Famer and triple-double machine Oscar Robertson, and even do-it-all floor general Jason Kidd. Additionally, players like Nash and Russell Westbrook were MVPs while players like Paul and Gary Payton were All-Defensive selections, neither of which Irving has ever accomplished.

Irving is definitely one of the more skilled offensive players ever, and even his current head coach Nash has sung his praises on the all-time scale. But compared to some of the greats who have played at the point guard position, it is difficult to convincingly argue that Irving is one of the top-four ever.

Photo: Feb 1, 2020; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) during the second half against the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Kyrie Irving could appear in All-Star Game despite absence from Nets?

Kyrie Irving wearing his Nets uniform

Fans hoping to see Kyrie Irving play basketball at least once this season may be in luck.

Brian Lewis of the New York Post reported Sunday that the Brooklyn Nets guard is expected to be on the 2022 NBA All-Star ballot when it is released. Lewis adds that when the league previously updated the voting process, all players on NBA rosters were put on the ballot. Irving is still on the Brooklyn Nets roster, despite not making a single appearance for them this season. Thus, he will be no exception.

The unvaccinated Irving remains away from the Nets. While there was some recent hope that the seven-time All-Star might be able to return in time for the second half of the season, that has since faded away.

Irving has a very devoted following, as we recently saw a big example of. As such, it seems very possible that he could make an unexpected cameo at the 2022 All-Star Game in Cleveland.

Feb 1, 2020; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) during the second half against the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Kyrie Irving gets bad news about potential return to Nets

Kyrie Irving wearing his Nets uniform

The brief glimmer of hope for Kyrie Irving to return to the court for the Brooklyn Nets this season seems to be fading away.

New York City mayor-elect Eric Adams appeared Friday on CNN and was asked specifically about Irving, who remains ineligible to play due to the city’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

“New York is not going to change their rules,” said Adams, per Brian Lewis of the New York Post. “It’s up to the NBA and Kyrie Irving to work something out.”

Adams, who was just elected mayor this week, had hinted at “revisiting” the city’s vaccine mandate enacted by incumbent mayor Bill de Blasio. That led to speculation that Irving might have a pathway to return to the Nets when Adams assumed office in January. But Adams, who is currently the borough president of Brooklyn, was speaking in the context of encouraging de Blasio to reach a deal with local labor unions on the mandate. de Blasio has since done so, striking a deal with four city unions to give unvaccinated workers more time to apply for exemptions.

A January relaxation of the mandate would have given Irving enough time to return for the second half of the NBA season. Instead, the Nets, who are currently 5-3, will have to keep doing without him for the foreseeable future.

Photo: Feb 1, 2020; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) during the second half against the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Jay Williams blasts Stephen A. Smith over Aaron Rodgers comments

Stephen A. Smith

Stephen A. Smith was critical of Aaron Rodgers on Thursday for the way the star quarterback misled people about his vaccination status, but Jay Williams was not satisfied with his colleague’s delivery.

During Thursday’s edition of “First Take,” Smith called Rodgers a liar and criticized him for violating the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols for unvaccinated players. He also said Rodgers’ deception hurts his credibility in other areas. You can hear the comments below:

A lot of people were surprised that Smith, who is a big Rodgers fan, came down on the reigning NFL MVP so hard. Williams felt differently. He unloaded on Smith for the way Smith ripped Kyrie Irving for not getting vaccinated compared to how Smith spoke about Rodgers.

Williams seemed to be reaching a bit. Smith is right that it was natural for him to be less animated about Rodgers since those he was discussing the subject with agreed with him. That wasn’t the case when he ripped Irving a few weeks back. Williams defended Irving’s decision to not get vaccinated, which led to a heated debate between him and Smith. You can see that video here.

Of course, the idea of “First Take” is for Smith to argue with his co-hosts. Williams was just doing his part.

Rodgers tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday and will miss Sunday’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs. He was asked over the summer if he is vaccinated, and he said he has been “immunized.” We’ve since learned that he was referring to a homeopathic treatment he received.