Nets' Kevin Durant Hasn't Spoken with Kyrie Irving; 'Kyrie Made His Decision'

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIOctober 15, 2021

Brooklyn Nets' Kevin Durant (7) gets into position during the second half of a preseason NBA basketball game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant said he has not spoken with teammate Kyrie Irving after the team decided the point guard will not play or practice until he complies with New York City's COVID-19 mandate.

KD revealed that news to reporters following the team's 107-101 preseason win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday.

ESPN's Ohm Youngmisuk also relayed more comments from Durant regarding Irving and the team's decisions:

Ohm Youngmisuk @NotoriousOHM

Kevin Durant says he "definitely wants Kyrie around" but he says "Kyrie made his decision... and the team did the same." He wants the whole team together and at full strength but he hopes everything works out for both parties eventually.

As noted by Youngmisuk, Irving confirmed on Instagram Live Wednesday that he has decided against taking the COVID-19 vaccine.

"But it is reality that in order to be in New York City, in order to be on a team, I have to be vaccinated," Irving said in part.

"I chose to be unvaccinated, and that was my choice, and I would ask you all to just respect that choice."

ESPN's Tim Bontemps explained the NYC vaccine mandate, which precludes the unvaccinated Irving from playing any home games:

The New York executive order, which went into effect on Sept. 13, states anyone over the age of 12 won't be allowed to enter "certain covered premises" inside the city—including Barclays Center, Madison Square Garden and any other indoor gym or fitness setting—without providing proof of at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, unless there is an approved medical or religious exemption for them not doing so.

Nets general manager Sean Marks announced Tuesday that the team would not allow Irving to be a part-time player.

"Given the evolving nature of the situation and after thorough deliberation, we have decided Kyrie Irving will not play or practice with the team until he is eligible to be a full participant," Marks' statement began.

The Nets begin their season next week. They'll be without Irving to start the season at a minimum, leaving the team in a tough spot.

Durant, who averaged 26.9 points and 6.0 assists per game last year, addressed the challenges of replacing the talented seven-time All-Star.

Nets Videos @SNYNets

"When you're losing someone like Kyrie Irving, on the fly it's hard to figure out where you're going to get that production from"<br><br>Kevin Durant talks about the adjustments the Nets are making without Kyrie Irving <a href="https://t.co/xFKV7SLSEh">pic.twitter.com/xFKV7SLSEh</a>

As far as how Durant feels, he made clear that he isn't angry at Irving for his decision.

"What is being mad going to do?" he said, per James Herbert of CBS Sports. 

"You're not going to change his mind. So it's like, we'll let him figure out what he needs to do, let the team figure out what they need to do."

The entirety of Durant's comments can be found via Chris Milholen of Nets Daily:

Chris Milholen @CMilholenSB

Kevin Durant’s full comments on Kyrie Irving and his situation. <a href="https://t.co/R1fwQfKQjB">pic.twitter.com/R1fwQfKQjB</a>

Opening night for Brooklyn will be Tuesday at the defending NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks in Fiserv Forum.


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