Kevin Durant Sounds off on Kyrie Irving’s (Part-Time) Return to the Nets

Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving

Getty Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving during the Nets' win over the Phoenix Suns.

Well, it is finally happening. After a nearly three-month hiatus Brooklyn Nets superstar Kyrie Irving is preparing to make his season debut for the team. Nets general manager Sean Marks and team owner Joe Tsai originally had vowed for Irving to not be with the team until he got the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine as part of New York City’s health mandates. But extenuating circumstances have forced them to loosen their reigns.

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Kevin Durant Sounds off on Kyrie Irving’s Return

Every player on the Nets roster saw their workload increase with Kyrie out. But none more than the NBA’s leading scorer Kevin Durant who is averaging 37.0 minutes per game. The most he has averaged since the 2013-14 season. Durant is excited to have his co-star back albeit in a part-time role.

“Adding Kyrie to the equation just makes us so much better as a team. He was down, we were down, it was pretty simple, to be honest, we need more bodies, bring Kyrie on,” Durant said of Irving’s return during a recent episode of his podcast “The ETCs”.

“We wish this would’ve happened way earlier, But there was a lot that was going on with the start of the season.”


Durant Details How He Supported Kyrie in His Absence

Durant also talked about the struggle of having to balance the desire for Kyrie to return to the basketball court and chase a championship while still being supportive of him and his decisions as his friend.

“See the thing is, we had conversations amongst each other as human beings first, we talk to one another as men, we check up on one another outside of the game, too,” Durant said.

“For Kyrie to make a decision based on what he wanted to do with his life, I had to separate it, like ‘damn I want to play with you though’ to like ‘go ahead, do what you need to do and figure out what you need to figure out for you personally because this is a personal thing.”


Sean Marks Explains Why Kyrie Was Allowed to Return

Irving may be back with the team but he still has not received the necessary first dose of the COVID vaccine. And without it, Irving is only eligible to play road games. But with so many players out either because of injury or them entering the NBA’s health and safety protocols, the team felt that it was in their best interest to reinstate Irving.

“The overall environment has changed, as we all know. Drastically it has changed; Not only for the Nets. It’s changed from our staff perspective, our players perspective, it changed from what’s happening outside of Barclays,” said Marks on he and Joe Tsai’s decision per NetsDaily.

“COVID has done a number on the team and our society in general. Managing our overall player load; that’s something we got to be aware of throughout the course of the season. We have seen the large minutes our guys have had to endure, play and we got to look at what’s best for the team over the course of the season.”

The Nets have fared well in Irving’s absence as they sit alone on top of the Eastern Conference. With his return fast approaching, we may finally get a chance to see what the Nets look like at full strength.

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