Brooklyn Nets superstar Kyrie Irving has yet to play a game for the team this season. For those tardy, to the party, the Nets sidelined Irving just before the start of the season until he gets at least the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccination. Irving was expected to be an integral part of the Nets delivering the franchise its first-ever NBA title this season but his unavailability has the Nets title hopes looking grim. While the Nets remain optimistic that Kyrie will eventually return the team has already played 12 games without him and there has been no sign of him returning any time soon.
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Nets May Have Drop-Dead Date on Kyrie Irving
While the Nets have not officially ruled out a return from Irving, it is already November and the team slowly looks like they are starting to build a rhythm. The Nets have previously said that when Kyrie is cleared to return, they will welcome him back with open arms. But Alex Schiffer of “The Athletic” believes that the Nets’ invitation to welcome Irving back will eventually have an expiration date.
“A lot of questions on a drop-dead date for Irving. Publicly, the Nets haven’t given one. Sean Marks said when he sidelined Irving that he would welcome his star point guard back. But when asked if the invite had an expiration date, he said the situation is unprecedented and didn’t give one,” Schiffer writes per “The Athletic.”
“I would imagine there is one. If Irving wanted to come back for the start of the playoffs, would the players welcome him back and have to reinvent the wheel right before the biggest part of the season? I’m skeptical.”
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Kyrie Would Need ”Ramp-up Period” Before Returning
Schiffer also notes that when Irving is finally cleared to come back, he won’t be immediately available to return to the court. Much like when James Harden and Durant suffered injuries that held them out for an extended period last season, Irving will need a ramp-up period when he returns.
“The ramp-up time is another important point. If he reported Tuesday when the team returned, I would speculate early December as a debut date for him and that’s without having a clue on his conditioning,” Schiffer continued.
“Personally, if he’s not back by January, I would have a hard time seeing him play this season. The Nets need clarity and for every day he’s not there, the playoffs come a little bit closer. They can’t bring him back without the rest of the team approving it. It wouldn’t be a good look.”
Trade Market for Kyrie Is Scarce
It is no secret that the Nets have at least taken calls on Kyrie’s availability. But no real traction has been made on a potential trade. Schiffer also notes that the market for a Kyrie trade is scarce because of the uncertainty of if he would play or not.
“As for a trade market, I can’t see any executive trading for Irving without a commitment that he’d report to the team and play and has a long-term interest in being there,” Schiffer wrote.
“He’s in the last year of his deal. Would a non-contending team take him as a rental? Would he opt-in to his player option for next season? Extend with said team? The Nets have taken calls on Irving, but can anyone in Brooklyn make the guarantees a trading partner would want? If Irving still isn’t playing by the trade deadline, it will be interesting to see how often his name comes up, if at all.”
There is no definitive word on when or if Kyrie Irving will return. While there is no doubt that the Nets would rather have their superstar available, they have to be happy where they are currently. Sitting at 3rd place in the Eastern Conference.