Nets Brass Believe They Can Win Title Without One of the “Big 3”: Report

Kevin Durant and James Harden sound off on Kyrie Irving incident

Getty James Harden #13, Kevin Durant #7, and Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets high-five after coming off the court.

As the NBA prepares to kick off the regular season, all of the commotions have surrounded the vaccination status of Kyrie Irving. It was confirmed by Shams Charania of “The Athletic” that Irving is one of the NBA’s unvaccinated players. This came after he was absent from the Brooklyn Nets‘ first home practice on October 5. There are just under two weeks to go until the start of the regular season and Kyrie’s eligibility still hangs in the balance. Irving’s reluctance to get the vaccine has the Nets’ brass uncertain about his future with the team.

“The Brooklyn Nets remain unclear on All-Star guard Kyrie Irving’s ultimate intentions to get vaccinated and have made no decision on whether the organization will accommodate him as a part-time player this season,” ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted on October 5.“There had been previous optimism Irving would get vaccinated and fulfill local mandates, but that hope is waning and Irving’s continued resistance to vaccination has Nets preparing for the possibility they’ll be without him for home practices and games for foreseeable future.”

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Nets Think They Are Still Contenders Without Kyrie Irving

The combination of Kyrie, along with James Harden, and Kevin Durant is one of the greatest collections of offensive talents ever assembled. Nevertheless, the Nets are still a viable competitor without Irving. Last season the Nets had a record of 12-6 without Kyrie and averaged 116.9 points per game in his absence. Wojnarowski notes that the Nets believe even without Kyrie they are still title contenders.

“The Nets believe they’re still a championship contender with a roster constructed around Kevin Durant and James Harden and could ultimately have to make hard decisions on Irving’s future should he remain unvaccinated and unable to play in Barclays Center or Madison Square Garden,” Wojnarowski writes per ESPN.

“The Nets have been outwardly supportive of Irving’s process to consider vaccination and believe they’ve listened, supported, and educated him, but the franchise’s collective patience will be increasingly tested the longer that Irving stops short of committing to joining the team on a full-time basis.”

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Steve Nash Not Worried About the Nets

At different points last season both Harden and Durant were considered players who were in the running for the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award. But as good as “The Beard” and Durant are Kyrie’s impact cannot be denied. Last season Irving averaged 26.9 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 6.0 assists for the Nets. The season has not even started yet, and Brooklyn is already facing high drama. However, Nets head coach Steve Nash insists that he is not worried about his squad.

“I’m not really worried about anything,” Nash said in response to Irving being a no-show for practice per ESPN. “We’re just trying to work every day. We came in today and had a great practice and we’ll do the same tomorrow, and that’s kind of where I leave it.”

Nash also added that the Nets will not consider moving practice to a facility outside of New York City to accommodate Irving.

“No, this is our home, this is where we’re going to practice and we have almost a whole group,” Nash said. “So that’s a positive, and we’re just working at getting better every day and focusing on the things we can control.”

The Nets kick off their season against the Milwaukee Bucks on the road on October 19. The time is ticking for Kyrie to decide on whether he will get vaccinated. Wojnarowski notes that if he opts not to, he will forfeit roughly $380,000 per game.

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