Kyrie Irving Won't Travel with Nets for Grizzlies Game Due to Personal Reasons

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJanuary 8, 2021

Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) gestures during an NBA basketball game against the Atlanta Hawks, Friday, Jan. 1, 2021, in New York. The Hawks won 114-96. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
Adam Hunger/Associated Press

The Brooklyn Nets announced Kyrie Irving would not play Thursday's game against the Philadelphia 76ers for personal reasons prior to their victory, and he will not play Friday's game against the Memphis Grizzlies either.

A team spokesperson told ESPN's Malika Andrews the point guard will not fly with the team to Memphis on Thursday night.

Head coach Steve Nash was asked about the notion that Irving simply didn't want to play in Thursday's game and said, "I don't believe that to be the case."


Steve Nash on the report Kyrie Irving 'just didn't want to play': "I don't believe that to be the case" https://t.co/Ku2EzqS0Fm

Even without Irving and Kevin Durant, the Nets handled the 76ers with relative ease in a 122-109 victory.

Joe Harris (28 points, six rebounds and four assists) and Caris LeVert (22 points, 10 assists, seven rebounds and two steals) led the way in a balanced effort that saw five Brooklyn players score in double figures.

LeVert said that even though Irving didn't play, he texted his teammates before the game, per Joe Vardon of The Athletic.

The Nets are flying to Memphis for a brief one-game road trip before they return home to play the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday. While Irving's status is not yet known, Nash told reporters Durant could play against the Thunder if he continues to test negative for COVID-19.

Durant has not played since this past Sunday in a loss to the Washington Wizards.

Brooklyn is expected to challenge for an Eastern Conference crown this season in large part because of the pairing of Durant and Irving. The team is off to a 5-4 start and has won two games in a row.