Durant on Irving practicing with Nets: ‘We want him here for the whole thing’

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According to a decision from health and city officials in New York, Kyrie Irving can start practicing with the Nets, but he can’t play in any home games at the Barclays Center. That’s because the team’s practice facility is considered a private building — same as an office building — while the Barclays Center is a public space that falls under New York’s vaccine mandate.

The city’s decision brings Irving around the team more but keeps him a part-time player. How does Kevin Durant feel about that? Via Brian Lewis of the New York Post:

With it clear now that neither the potential loss of checks for games missed nor peer pressure from his teammates (how much have Durant and Harden leaned on him?) will push Irving to get vaccinated. He apparently plans on sitting out home games.

The Nets then are forced into a very public decision: Do they let Irving become a part-time player for them? (Trading Irving right now is not an option.)

Durant’s comments show he understands how Irving bouncing in and out of the lineup can be both a distraction and make it hard to form chemistry. Even without Irving, the Nets are still one of the top teams in the East and a contender thanks to Durant, James Harden, and the role players they have. However, a lot of their margin for error is gone without Irving in the mix.

He will say this is a decision for the coach and GM, but a lot of this falls on Durant: If he is going to be angry with the Nets for sitting Irving on the road too, the team will not do it. If Durant thinks Irving is too much of a distraction or disruption and is good with Irving sitting, the team will do that. Durant is the franchise player and holds a lot of sway here.

But a decision is clearly coming for Brooklyn.