After months of speculations on trades, salary dumps, and everything else in between 7-time NBA All-Star Kyrie Irving is going to suit up for the Brooklyn Nets after all. Irving was initially sidelined by the Nets before the start of the season and was not going to be allowed to play until he got at least the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Under New York City health and safety protocols, participants must have the first dose of the vaccine to play sports indoors. But with a roster that has already been decimated by injuries and players entering the league’s COVID protocols, the Nets decided to reinstate Kyrie on a part-time basis. He will make his season debut at the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday.
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James Harden Sounds off on Kyrie Irving’s Return
For the Nets, Irving’s return could not have come at a more perfect time. For the majority of the season, Brooklyn has held the top spot in the Eastern Conference playoff standings. But recently the team has begun to slip as they are on a three-game losing streak and trail the Chicago Bulls by two games for the top spot in the East. While the team is genuinely excited to get Kyrie back, Nets star James Harden understands that his return alone won’t correct the team’s poor play as of late.
“Yeah, definitely. We’d love to have Kyrie back. He’s a special, special talent but there are things that we need to correct internally and individually that can help us,” Harden told reporters per NetsDaily. “And then adding Kyrie back is going to be more special. We got to control and we got to do the things that necessary to win games possession by possession individually.”
Harden Hoping Kyrie Will Provide ‘Spark’ for Nets
The Nets had a three-game homestand and dropped all three games to the Los Angeles Clippers, Philadelphia 76ers, and Memphis Grizzlies. And even worse for the Nets is that while they continue to lose, the Bulls are tearing through the league as winners of eight straight games, padding their lead for the top spot in the East. Harden hopes that Irving’s return will bring a spark to help the team get back on the right track.
“It definitely gives us a spark. Something that we’re going to need in a three-game skid right now,” Harden said of Irving’s return. “It definitely gives us a spark and a blessing that we can have him back. We got to do things in that film session to continue to get better with our principles and our detail. Adding Kyrie is more special.”
Kyrie’s Availability Still a Question Mark
Irving’s return to the court is something that the Nets and their fans have long waited for and the moment is finally here. But one question mark still looms in the Nets’ locker room: what is the true extent of Kyrie’s availability?
Though the Nets have reinstated him, Kyrie remains unvaccinated. While the team has fared well in Irving’s absence not having him available as a full-time player could have major ramifications on the Nets’ game plan come playoff time. Irving still has a few months left before the playoffs start to get vaccinated and be available for the Nets full-time, which could play a major part in whether or not Brooklyn wins the title this year.