Kevin Durant of Nets on Kyrie Irving’s part-time status: “I’m not going to force anyone to get vaccinated”

With Kyri Irving, who recently returned to the Nets part-time, the team is adapting to his limited availability.

After making Irving his season debut against the Pacers, he could not take the floor on a home game against Bucks’ defenses due to New York City regulations for people who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19. As a result, the Nets were up 24 points behind, while the Bucks cruised to victory “wire-to-wire”.

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It is clear that Irving’s presence was very much lacking. After the loss, Kevin Durant was asked if he talked to Irving about his part-time availability, to which he provided an honest answer.

“I told him how important he was – how much I wanted him to play every game,” Durant began. “But like I said, I’m not going to force someone to get vaccinated, like, that’s none of my business. So he can play basketball? No, I’m not going to do it.”

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After Nets general manager Sean Marks said Irving would not be allowed to participate part-time before the season, the franchise changed course in mid-December, paving the way for Irving’s return to the lineup for the start of the new year.

MORE: Why the Nets allowed Kyrie to rejoin the team

Durant admits that even if he doesn’t force Irving to decide one way or another, they have talked about his availability. Durant said it was a personal choice after all.

“We had talks about wanting him to be part of the team and talks about being here full time, but that’s his time,” Durant added. “Whatever he wants to make, he will. It’s up to us to come here and be professionals no matter what.”

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The Nets dropped to 24-13 in the season after losing to the Bucks, which is second in the Eastern Conference. Although Irving will help the team in games outside Brooklyn, the Nets are in fact 14-3 on the road and a 10-10 pedestrian on their home pitch.

The problems can be deeper than if Irving isn’t here.

Nets Schedule 2021-22

date Opponent time (ET) National television
January 9 vs. Spurs 12:00
January 10 in Trail Blazers 22:00
January 12 in Bulls 22:00 ESPN
January 13 vs. Thunder 20:30
January 15 vs. Pelicans 19:30
January 17 in Cavaliers 15:00
January 19 in Wizards 19:00
21st of January and Spurs 20:30
January 23 in Timberwolves 20:00
January 25 vs. Lakers 19:30 TNT

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