Steve Nash Says He Hasn't Had Discussions About Kyrie Irving's Return Amid Rumors

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIDecember 14, 2021

Brooklyn Nets coach Steve Nash watches from the bench during the first half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Atlanta Hawks on Friday, Dec. 10, 2021, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
AP Photo/John Bazemore

Brooklyn Nets head coach Steve Nash had nothing new to reveal on the playing status of guard Kyrie Irving amid reports that he could be gearing up for a return.

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Steve Nash says he hasn't heard anything new regarding Kyrie Irving potentially returning to the Nets this season:<br><br>"We connected last week, but not with any intel or any insight that things are changing" <a href="https://t.co/SYPHrkTjEd">pic.twitter.com/SYPHrkTjEd</a>

Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported Monday that there was "renewed optimism" regarding Irving potentially coming back this year.

"In recent weeks, Irving and Kevin Durant, his co-star and close friend, have had increased communication about his fit on the team, breaking down the games, and about life in general, sources added," Charania wrote.

"There appears to be an increased level of enthusiasm between the two superstars."

Irving also posted this video of him putting on basketball sneakers one day after that report dropped:

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Kyrie Irving posted a video of himself putting on basketball sneakers one day after reports that he may return to the court this season 👀 <a href="https://twitter.com/brkicks?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@brkicks</a> <a href="https://t.co/TK8d6idJPJ">pic.twitter.com/TK8d6idJPJ</a>

Irving's refusal to get vaccinated against COVID-19 led to him being barred from playing any home games in Brooklyn's Barclays Center due to New York City's vaccination policies.

The point guard would have been eligible to play road games, but the Nets ruled that he would not play or practice with the team until he got vaccinated.

Irving, 29, averaged 26.9 points, 6.0 assists and 4.8 rebounds per game last year for the Nets.

Brooklyn rarely had its big three of Irving, Durant and James Harden on the floor at the same time for various reasons, and that was the case for nearly all of the team's second-round loss to the eventual NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks last season.

This year, the Nets have created a small gap between themselves and the rest of the Eastern Conference even without Irving, going 19-8 and forging a two-game lead over the second-place Bucks and Chicago Bulls.

However, the Nets certainly could use Irving back as they navigate through this season, look to maintain their hold on first and aspire to win the first NBA title in franchise history.

The competition won't be easy. The Bucks in particular have bounced back after a rough 4-6 start, and a potential rematch in the playoffs may loom.

The top of the Western Conference looks loaded with the Golden State Warriors, Phoenix Suns and Utah Jazz all off to hot starts, and facing any of them would be difficult in a hypothetical NBA Finals matchup.

For now, the Nets are enjoying a good start to the season as they search for their 20th regular-season win. A home game with the Toronto Raptors is up next on Tuesday.