REPORT: Optimism Growing Around Kyrie Irving Playing For Nets | SLAM

According to The Athletic’s NBA insider Shams Charania, the possibility of Kyrie Irving suiting up for the Brooklyn Nets has gained renewed optimism.

Whether that’s through vaccination or by the Nets making Irving available to play road games and practice at home remains unclear. Charania reported that Irving and Kevin Durant, close friends that orchestrated their move to Brooklyn together, have been talking increasingly more about their personal lives, Irving’s fit on the team, and breaking down game film.

Furthermore, Charania says that there appears to be an “increased level of enthusiasm between the two superstars.”

There were concerns about Irving’s future in Brooklyn after New York City mayor-elect Eric Adams declined to change the city’s vaccine mandates. According to Charania, city hall officials have no plans to lift the requirements that New Yorkers must have at least one COVID-19 shot to enter indoor venues like Barclays Center.

Team governor Joe Tsai has also been firm that the Nets didn’t want Irving to be a “part-time player.” In October, the team ultimately announced that Irving would sit out all team activities until he is “eligible to be a full participant.” Irving subsequently set the record straight on Instagram Live, telling Nets fans that he has no intentions to retire.

“Don’t believe that I’m retiring, don’t believe that I’m going to give up this game for a vaccine mandate or staying unvaccinated,” Irving said in October.

The Nets (19-8) are first in the Eastern Conference as they continue to play without Irving, with a decision on his future coming as soon as December 27 when New York City’s mandates will expand for all private sector individuals or during the League’s trade deadline on February 10. Since October, the Nets have reportedly declined to entertain any trade offers for Irving.

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