Brooklyn Nets star forward Kevin Durant is not sweating the absence of fellow NBA champion Kyrie Irving as the super-team prepares for the 2021-22 season.
Durant spoke with the media on Wednesday, indicating that he expects Irving to be a member of the championship contenders this season. He also provided a bit of a caveat in the process.
“I’m envisioning Kyrie being a part of our team,” Durant said Wednesday. “Maybe I’m just naive, but that’s just how I feel. But everybody here has that confidence in themselves and our group, that if we keep doing it, we can do something special.”
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Those who follow the NBA know full well what is happening involving Irving. He remains against getting the COVID-19 vaccine, placing into question his availability for home games this season.
Local New York City pandemic mandates require individuals who attend large-scale indoor events to be vaccinated. There’s no indication that Irving plans on changing his stance, much like what we saw with Andrew Wiggins of the Golden State Warriors.
Kevin Durant not pushing Kyrie Irving to get vaccinated
“No, I don’t go out giving advice. This is his decision; that’s his choice. We all respected it. This is way bigger than hoops. So I don’t feel comfortable talking to him about stuff like this. But I’m just here to support and to come in here and do my job as one of the leaders on the team, and when things get figured out I’ve got trust and I hope that it’ll get figured out,” Durant said.
This is the common response from NBA players who are vaccinated (about 95%). “It’s a personal decision” and the like. We can argue that point until we’re blue in the face, but this isn’t the platform for that.
In terms of Irving’s future with the Nets, they are still contemplating what to do. There’s a chance that they opt to sit Irving throughout the entire season should he remain unvaccinated.
There’s certainly a ton of logistical concerns with the star guard playing only road games, especially when we take into account he can’t be present for practices in the Big Apple.
This is obviously a major backdrop with the Nets set to open their regular season against the defending champion Bucks in Milwaukee on Oct. 19.
Flush with Kevin Durant and James Harden, Brooklyn still views itself as a title contender even without Irving in the mix. There’s also a chance trade talks could pick up should Irving remain steadfast against getting vaccinated.