Brooklyn Nets superstar Kevin Durant says he still envisiones Kyrie Irving being part of their championship pursuit. Irving missed his second straight day of practice in Brooklyn as New York City's COVID-19 protocols only allow players with at least one vaccination shot to practice and play.
Irving has been reluctant about taking the vaccine as some of his actions on social media indicated that he is a conspiracy theorist. If Irving doesn't take the vaccine, he won't be allowed to play 41 home games for the Nets this season.
"I'm envisioning Kyrie being a part of our team," Durant told reporters after Wednesday's practice when asked if the talented Nets have enough to cover Irving if the guard is not with the team for extended time.
"Maybe I'm just naïve, but that is just how I feel. But I think everybody here has that confidence in themselves, in our group, that if we keep building, we can do something special." Nets head coach Steve Nash said earlier the city's vaccine mandate wouldn't be an issue by the start of the season.
"I don't know, I can't answer that," Nash told reporters when asked if anything changed in that regard. "As it stands now, no. So we'll see what happens. I don't really want to speculate on something that is just currently up in the air."
Durant says the Nets are trying not be distracted
"He is dealing with something personal right now," Durant said. "And while he is dealing with that, we are going to focus on us here in the gym and keep working.
When they are ready to figure that out, he'll figure it out." Durant suggested that he won't push Irving to take the vaccine. "I'm not really trying to get too involved in it," he said. "It's far bigger than myself and each one of us individually.
This is one man's personal decision on his wellbeing so I got to sit back and observe and see what's happening and keep coming in here and practice every day and go hard every rep." "No, I don't go out giving advice like that," Durant added of talking to Irving.
"This is his decision, that's his choice, we all respect it, this is way bigger than hoops. I don't even feel comfortable talking to him about stuff like this. I am just here to support and come in here and do my job as one of the leaders on the team. And when things get figured out, I got trust and hope that it will get figured out."