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More on Brooklyn Nets Turmoil?

Shams Charania: Kyrie Irving's back and at the end of the day, they know that they need Kyrie Irving to win a championship. That's why they went and brought him back. That's why the players on the roster... it started with them from Kevin Durant on down, they wanted Kyrie Irving back in the fold.
Nets executives maintained that the unvaccinated point guard, of all people, could bail out his vaccinated colleagues from a roster-shattering cluster of breakthrough cases. “It’s ridiculous,” a former Nets official familiar with how the team’s stars boss around the bosses tells Rolling Stone. “That’s what you sign up for, when you get those players.”
Brad Hoylman, the New York state senator who introduced legislation that would expand vaccine requirements to visiting players and performers, tells Rolling Stone that Irving’s reinstatement is “an outrage” that has already helped normalize vaccine denial and super-spreader events: “It makes my blood boil that celebrities and professional athletes are getting a pass. And the rest of us? Our health is endangered, and we’re sick and dying. It’s the ultimate F-you to fans.”
The plan to bring back Kyrie Irving was put into motion as early as last week, sources tell me and NetsDaily. Setting the stage, the Nets made the decision on October 12 to ban Kyrie Irving from team activities until he was “eligible to be a full participant,” either by getting the COVID-19 vaccine... or until the New York City mandate changed. For the first two months of the season, the Nets did not waiver from that decision. That all changed after a mid-December meeting.
With Kevin Durant and James Harden among the league leaders in minutes per game and shouldering a heavy load, an agent of at least one of them met with GM Sean Marks, according to an insider.
Those discussions were somewhat contentious, added a source. Some within the Nets organization believed Marks left the meeting feeling as if his hand had been forced, he said. Although Durant has signed an extension, Harden (and Irving) have player options in the summer.
Kyrie Irving’s return to the court — unvaccinated and part-time — is as seismic as it is controversial. The Nets aren’t naïve to that. But Nets owner Joe Tsai told The Post they’re not trying to champion a cause. They’re trying to be champions. And letting Irving play — even if it’s just on the road — gets them closer. “We’re trying to be practical. And I’ve always said I don’t want to make this a political issue,” Tsai told The Post by phone Friday night. “My only religion is to win games and win the championship. That’s where we are.”
But now after seeing the roster decimated and Irving expressing a desire to return, Tsai and Marks brought him back — with Durant and Harden on board. “So I think a lot of people that are either pro-vax or anti-vax people are mad at me for taking one stance or the other. But I have said from the very beginning I’m not taking this as a political thing,” Tsai told The Post. “I’m doing this to help the Brooklyn Nets win a championship. That’s the thinking.”
Nick Friedell: Iguodala on the Kyrie news: "Kyrie's my man, so I hope he shows his talent to the world and continues to prove me right that he's a top player ever. They don't want us to see his skillset, though. His mind's too free."
One longtime NBA coach told The Athletic that letting Irving play only in road games would be the equivalent of “dropping a large boulder into a small pond every few weeks” in relation to team chemistry due to the role Irving has on the team. Now that option could be back on the table. It’s unclear whether Irving’s return would be through vaccination — he would need to take one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine or two doses of Pfizer or Moderna to satisfy the mandate — or if he would just practice and play on the road.
Security staff at the venue are seen trying to push the protesters back away from the doors, while chants of “Let Kyrie play” ring out. The arena was forced to briefly go into lockdown until the situation was brought under control, a spokesperson for the Barclays Center told The Independent.
“Only ticketed guests were able to enter the building and the game proceeded according to schedule.” An NYPD spokesperson confirmed to The Independent that no arrests were made over the altercation.
Irving’s unwillingness to play for another team could even prompt him to retire if traded,according to Marc Stein. However, Irving himself said he has no plans to do so, which means he and the Nets are stuck in limbo in the meantime. There is no breach of contract since Irving is only losing the money for home games he’s ineligible for. As long he is comfortable with that, the Nets will have no choice but to eithertrade him, waive him, or wait this out.
Williams, of course, was a star at Duke and taken with the second overall pick by the Chicago Bulls in the 2002 NBA Draft. He suffered severe injuries in a motorcycle crash in 2003 that ultimately cost him his playing career. Williams also doubled down on his defense of Irving. “Kyrie Irving doesn’t owe you anything. He doesn’t owe you a response on your timeline. He doesn’t owe you answers that you feel like you need,” Williams said. “Everybody says, ‘Oh, the NBA season starts in five days.’ Who gives a damn.”
“This is not the ideal situation coming into the season but it’s out of our control. What we can do is come in and focus on our jobs every single day. What is being mad going to do? It’s not going to change his mind,” Durant said after the Nets preseason finale win over the Timberwolves. “We’ll let him figure what he needs to do and let the team figure out what they need to do. Us as players, when we’re in the locker room or on the floor, we are going to work with each other. Life is amazing. I can’t be too mad at somebody making a decision for themselves. Who am I to get upset at that?”
“I definitely want Kyrie to be around. I wish none of this stuff happened but this is the situation that we’re in. Kyrie made his decision on what he wanted to do. He chose to do what he wanted to do and the team did the same,” Durant said.
Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene has spoken up in defense of benched Brooklyn Nets player Kyrie Irving, who has steadfastly refused to get the COVID-19 shot. "The fascist NBA won't let Kyrie Irving play for refusing a vaccine. But yet they still let Magic Johnson play with HIV," wrote Greene in a tweet on October 14.
Marbury compared the Nets star to Muhammad Ali, an iconic boxer that worked tirelessly on social justice issues during his time. “Ali would be proud of you” “Nah they can’t cut and edit these God words spoken. It’s all love here and this soul speaking got a[n] ARMY behind him.” “You [are] bringing the vaccinated and unvaccinated together. That’s a different power. No one [has] ever seen it before,” Marbury comments.
In his latest Instagram Live, Irving addressed the issue and even fired back at the critics who has been blasting him for his stance. The Nets guard even issued some sort of a challenge for those criticizing him online but has no courage of telling it to his face. “These dudes read off scripts. They calling me unintelligent, all these different kinds of names. They’ll never say it to my face,” Irving said in his IG Live.
Kyrie Irving also blasted the media for spreading rumors about his stance, calling them “puppets.” To recall, there were talks about the Nets playmaker starting a conspiracy about the COVID-19 vaccine–particularly Moderna which is said to be involved in a plan to implant microchips on Black people. “To continue to play with my name…without me speaking? These dudes are puppets!” Irving added. “One thing I’m not gonna tolerate is standing around watching people do things around me that are very questionable,” he furthered in his IG Live.
Anthony Puccio: Kyrie mentions there was some sort of promise for exemption. “This wasn’t an issue before the season started.”
Brian Lewis: Kyrie Irving on IG Live: "We just came out of one of the craziest pandemics of all time, and you're telling me to think rationally." A lot to unpack in there, most of all the use of the past tense. Folks still dying out here. #Nets #NBA
Towns tragically lost his mother and multiple family members to the dreaded disease. If any NBA star would have strong opinions on the matter, it’s him. Ahead of the Minnesota Timberwolves’ preseason tilt against the Nets, KAT was asked about Kyrie Irving’s reluctance to get the shot. Via Adam Zagoria of NJ.com: “I’m obviously a strong believer in the vaccine,” Towns said ahead of their game against the Nets.”I’ve been through so much and it would be kind of contradictory to not be on the pro-vaccine side. But what I will say is that I believe in choice and I like to give people their choice and I have no problem with people having their choice.”
Towns may be pro-vaccine, but he’s not forcing anybody else to be the same. However, he did finish his answer with a rather testy remark. “I think that’s not only a human right, but it’s an American right as well.. … They make their own decisions on their own bodies and their own families. I have no ill will towards that,” Towns continued. “The only thing I would say is just don’t give me a (expletive) excuse why [you don’t get the vaccine]…You don’t want to do it, that’s your choice.”
Marcus Morris: I don’t know how some of these dudes be on television, I can’t even watch that shit. Literally say anything for fame and money it’s sad. I’m wit @KyrieIrving keep being you my brother.
Alex Schiffer: Kyrie Irving says on Instagram Live that he's not retiring, is unvaccinated, doesn't want to be giving up the money he is to sit out, preaches unity and respect for his decision.
Ohm Youngmisuk: Kyrie on IG: "I chose to be unvaccinated and that is my choice and I would ask you to respect (it)." He says it is not a political thing or about the NBA and adds that he will stay ready to rejoin the team and go after a championship. He adds, "And no, I'm not retiring."
Ohm Youngmisuk: Kyrie on IG: "Nobody should be forced to do anything with their bodies. You only get one of these. If you choose to get vaccinated, I support you. Do what is best for you but that doesn't mean go around and judging people."
“Kyrie believes in his beliefs and he stands firm and strong on that,” James Harden said. “For us, we respect it. We all love Ky. But as far as us, we have a job to do. Individually, myself. I’m still wanting to set myself up for a championship. And I feel like the entire organization is on the same path, and we’re all, as a collective unit. We’ll keep pushing forward and we’ll try to do our best every single day to get better and keep going as a collective unit.”
Anthony Puccio: Sources explained last year that Tsai was unhappy during Kyrie Irving’s hiatus in the 2020-21 season. Thus, trading for James Harden not only assured a superteam, but provided insurance in the event Kyrie wasn’t available — no matter what the reasons were/are.
Nets players who spoke with The Ringer seem unmoved by Irving’s vaccination status. Vaccine holdouts have caused an uproar in corners of the internet, but the Nets themselves don’t seem like a distracted group. Not yet, at least.
“It’s definitely out in the Twitterverse more than it is in our locker room, without a doubt,” Marks says. “All I can tell you is what he’s told everybody: It’s a private matter, and he needs to talk to the right people and figure out in his close circle what he wants to do.”
Ohm Youngmisuk: Kyrie Irving joins Nets media day remotely. On if he expects to be compliant with vaccination to play: “I would love to keep that private and handle that the right way with my team. Obviously I’m not able to be present there today.” He adds he’s not putting limits for future. pic.twitter.com/00fYCtBcNR
Jeff Zillgitt: Reporter tries to get more info from Kyrie Irving on vaccine/possibly not being available for home games per New York City ordinance: "Please respect my privacy. Next question."
Ohm Youngmisuk: Kyrie Irving said he doesn't want to be a distraction to the Nets' pursuit of a title. "This is the last thing I wanted to create, more distractions."
The Nets got too comfortable. Now they’ve gotten a wake-up call. After losing four in a row, the Nets entered Friday closer to third place than the No. 1 seed Philadelphia 76ers. The No. 2 seed hangs in the balance as the Nets approached Saturday’s matchup against the Denver Nuggets, a Western Conference juggernaut powered by MVP front-runner Nikola Jokic.
The four-game skid marked “uncharted territory” for a team angling for a championship; a bend-or-break inflection point as the Nets continued to battle getting healthy and building chemistry. They welcomed this skid because it gave them something to grow from. “I’m glad it’s happening now for us instead of in a couple weeks, and hopefully we build off of this and keep growing,” Kevin Durant said. “I hope we feel this pain from losing, feeling like we’re not where we want to be. I like this position for us, and I think it’s gonna make us better.”
In their mind, the Nets are already in the playoffs. Iron sharpens iron, and the sharpest metal will win it all this season. “It’s about time we got tested in terms of just having to think the game on a different level, knowing that teams are shaping up for the playoffs,” Kyrie Irving said. “And we’ve done our best to make sure that we’re ready to play, but now we’ve got to think the game going up against some of these good teams, especially on the road. “Stuff happens, but I think it’s good we have those tests now, those challenges, you know? It’s been too easy at times,” Irving continued. “So, it’s good.”
During that tough (to watch) first quarter, James Harden and DeAndre Jordan got into (as Ryan Ruocco so eloquently put it) an “animated” conversation on the bench, likely about defensive rotations. “I don’t even remember it. We talk so much during the game,” said DeAndre when questioned about this specific moment during the post-game presser. “But yeah, we have conversations about defense, offense, spacing, communication. Whatever we’re talking about is for the success of our team.”
As an aside, I’m not going to try to guess as to why Irving left the club prior to their Jan. 7 game against the Sixers. Various reports have stated that he was upset over the riots at the Capitol Building on Jan. 6. However, those familiar with Irving’s thinking said that the news that the Kenosha police officer who shot Jacob Blake won’t be facing any criminal charges factored into his absence. That event, more so than the riots at the Capitol Building, contributed to Irving being away from the club, those people say.
Irving’s return is an opportunity to show he can adapt his game as a scorer off the ball and dispel any questions about his commitment to his teammates and basketball from outside the organization. “The thing that is pretty interesting in watching when you take a break from everything is there are just so many assumptions about what’s going on, and so manypeople feel like they know me best,” Irving said. “They have no idea who I am, or what I’m about, or what I stand for, or even attempt to take the time, or even for me to invite them to take the time, so it’s a two-way street. When things become overwhelming in life, you’ve just got to take a step back and realize what’s important. I love to play. It’s never been a question. I’ve committed myself when this wasn’t even a thing for me. I didn’t really care about media. I didn’t really care about the fandom. All I cared about was just the ethics of the game and being taught the fundamentals.”
Malika Andrews: Sean Marks said that signing James Harden wasn't directly related to Kyrie Irving's absence. Marks said that he has spoken to Irving and the guard is "excited" to get back on the court, but Marks reiterates the timeline will be impacted by the NBA's investigation.
Chris Haynes: (The Nets) have not issued a fine, a suspension, basically going AWOL, which leads me to believe that they know something, obviously. And whatever that something is, could be serious. That's why they're not taking any type of penalize steps. So with that being said, I want to wait a little bit. I want to wait to see but it doesn't look good.
Over the last couple days, sources around the league – and talking heads – have all wondered about the possibility of Irving retiring. The bar had been set so low that Durant simply wanting to play and loving basketball was worthy of praise. And the Nets still have to figure out whether Irving is fully invested. After all, as sources confirmed, they’re still upset at his recent actions — including going to a family party in the pandemic. Harden, a model of consistency and durability, still needs to get in better shape, too. He looked like he'd stop trying in Houston, so hopefully this move will reinvigorate him as a superstar scorer and more dependable option — simply by showing up to work. He’s also hungry to finally win a title and join Durant and Irving with a ring.
“I hate to continue with this thread, but I’m not really going to comment on either, the details of the rumors or Kyrie’s situation. I don’t know that it gets us anywhere today. Apologies. Sorry,” said Nash, who also passed on a question about trying to fit high-usage stars like Irving, Harden and Kevin Durant together. “That’s a great hypothetical. We can address that another time. But I haven’t had an opportunity to know any new details about Kyrie’s situation. So I’ll just rely on the front office to learn more as we go. They’re the ones that are going to do the messaging on that front.”
In Wednesday’s edition of First Take, Smith said that the 28-year-old Irving should retire from the NBA. Smith said: “No, he’s not. He’s not worth it at all. As a matter of fact, let me say this straight up and down, I think Kyrie Irving should retire. I think he should announce his retirement today. Clearly you don’t want to play basketball bad enough. Now, you may still want to get the $33.4 million … Kyrie Irving has not prioritized basketball. I’m not saying he doesn’t want to play all together. I’m saying he hasn’t prioritized it. How fair is that to the Brooklyn Nets? How fair is that to Sean Marks? How fair is that to Steve Nash? A coached that he endorsed bringing onboard. A coach that he wanted. A coach that he fully supported. How fair is that to his brother, Kevin Durant?”
There are dozens of reporters calling everybody they can think of, trying to get to the bottom of this. It appears few people inside the NBA know what’s going on with Irving, and the few who probably do (like, Nets officials) aren’t saying. There is real concern throughout the league from people who know him.
It was the latest case of bad optics for Irving, who has missed the last four games and counting due to “personal reasons.” The Brooklyn Nets are upset with their franchise point guard over his recent actions, league sources confirmed. Irving remains out indefinitely.
Marc Stein: The NBA has formally opened a review of videos that appear to show the Nets' Kyrie Irving at a recent party without a mask If Irving misses any games due to what is ruled a protocols violation, he would be subject to a fine of more than $460,000 per game ... 1/72 of his salary
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sources with @Malika_Andrews: As the NBA is expected to begin examining online videos circulating of a maskless Kyrie Irving at a family birthday party, there’s no belief that he will return to the Brooklyn Nets lineup this week.
In the videos -- which began being widely shared Monday night -- a smiling Irving is dancing with his sister Asia on a confetti-covered floor and clapping as she blows out candles. If the video is found to be recent, that behavior could be a breach of the league's coronavirus protocols. The league's COVID-19 guidelines forbid players from going to clubs, bars and lounges. They also ban attending social gatherings of more than 15 people.
Joe Vardon: Kyrie Irving is not expected to join the Nets on their flight to Memphis tonight, per a source. ‘He’s not coming’ is what I was told. BKN plays the Grizzlies Friday @The Athletic
"I'm not going to be petty, but there's been a lot of things said about what I bring to the locker room" Nets guard Kyrie Irving says he has a great relationship with his teammates

http://twitter.com/SNYtv/status/1216557266045952000?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1216557266045952000&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.talkbasket.net%2F64301-kyrie-irving-thereve-been-a-lot-of-things-said-about-what-i-bring-to-a-locker-room-the-negative-side-of-it
Earlier this week, ESPN published a story about Irving, Durant and DeAndre Jordan joining the Nets that reported the team is already concerned over Irving’s moodiness, including an episode in which Irving was quiet and withdrawn while the Nets were in China. Sources close to Irving expressed frustration with the report, especially since he is trying to not make the focus this season about what he says and does when he isn’t on the court.
You want to know Kyrie Irving’s reaction to an ESPN article on his mood swings, and how they’ve left the Nets “queasy?” The star guard doesn’t. Doesn’t give a damn what ESPN or The Post or anybody else writes or thinks or says. He’s going to do him. “Human beings have mood swings. You go home and you’re not happy with things or mad about something, that’s a mood swing. It’s OK to be human,” Irving said Wednesday night. “I don’t have to be perfect for anyone here, nor do I have to be perfect for the public so I’m not here to dispel any perception. I’m just here to be myself.”
It came two days after an ESPN article detailing his mood swings and the worries they are causing the Nets. Coach Kenny Atkinson vehemently denied the article Tuesday at practice and again before Wednesday night’s game. “No, that thing is two things. I’ll double-down, or triple-down on what I said. That’s where I am,” said Atkinson, who added he didn’t feel the need to address Irving about the story. “As far as that, I know all these elite players, not just Kyrie, they’re used to the scrutiny and that’s just part of the business. That’s just what it is. I didn’t feel the need to talk to him about it.”
Asked by Mina Kimes Wednesday about whether Sean Marks and Kenny Atkinson were committed to integrating the two into the Nets culture, MacMullan replied that Marks has a great luxury going forward ... one Atkinson may not have. “Well, I think Sean is determined to do it. You know for him it’s all about communications and trust and that’s what they built their team on. And he’s going to keep plowing away at it. You know Kenny doesn’t have that luxury. He doesn’t have time, right? He’s gotta win games. He’s gotta get these guys on the same page.”
Meanwhile, ESPN’s Jay Williams, speaking with Max Kellerman, said he’d spoken with Marks and that the Nets GM had confirmed one of the key incidents MacMullan mentioned in her story: that Irving had declined to take off his (Nets) cap during a photo shoot atop the Pearl TV Tower in Shanghai. “He did not want to take his hat off,” said Williams. “He did ask them to photoshop that. Bottom line for the ESPN commentator? “Look on the big scale of things, I think this is not a concern. All the players and the team seem to be on same page.”
Jordan, Irving's close friend, had a lighthearted response when asked about the report. "Kyrie's a bad guy, he's terrible, he's moody, I don't like to be around him," he said, facetiously. Jordan later added: "I feel like we're all competitive, everybody in the world goes through mood swings. It's a part of life and human nature. I just don't think it should be targeted at one person …. It's not affecting our team. I think Kyrie's a great guy, I don't think Kyrie's done anything negative. Anything that I've seen that he's done. And he's a friend of mine. So if he was, I would tell him."
James Herbert: DeAndre, sarcastically: "Kyrie’s a bad guy. He’s terrible. He’s moody. I don’t like to be around him. He’s horrible in the locker room. He’s a selfish player. I don’t like his haircut. I wear his shoes only because they’re comfortable and because he makes me. Is that good?"
Ian Begley: Spencer Dinwiddie was asked about ESPN’s Nets story that stated Kyrie Irving’s mood swings are an unspoken concern among team officials. He said Irving has been great as a teammate and anyone who has those issues should address Irving directly.
All three initially raised an eyebrow upon learning of Brooklyn's daily routine -- a two-hour time commitment that begins before practice even starts. Players receive a text informing them when their "table time" is scheduled. That includes 30 minutes with a massage therapist, physical therapist, or both, depending on what ails them that day. From there, players spend 30 minutes in the weight room, then move to the court for individual training. "Our whole setup can be a bit rigid," Atkinson says. "We're like a college program, in some ways. We have this car wash of very specific things with very specific people.
Yet Irving's infamous mood swings, confirmed by his ex-teammates, which followed him from Cleveland to Boston to Brooklyn, are the unspoken concern that makes Nets officials queasy. When Irving lapses into these funks, he often shuts down, unwilling to communicate with the coaching staff, front office and sometimes, even his teammates.
Nets team sources say one such episode occurred during Brooklyn's trip to China, leaving everyone scratching their heads as to what precipitated it. There's hope that Durant will be able to coax his friend into a better frame of mind. But when presented with that scenario, KD says he will be hands off.
Storyline: Brooklyn Nets Turmoil?
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July 1, 2022 | 7:04 pm EDT Update

Pushback against idea the Jazz are 'definitely keeping' Donovan Mitchell, Heat again named team to watch for him

Andy Larsen: FWIW: I’m hearing some pushback regarding the idea that the Jazz are definitely keeping Donovan Mitchell moving forward. Sense is that the Jazz are keeping their options open here: they could retool around Mitchell, or trade him for a massive haul to jumpstart a rebuild. In particular, watch Miami. Obviously, Kevin Durant is their No. 1 target, but if that doesn’t work out, they have been and will continue to be aggressive re: Donovan Mitchell.
July 1, 2022 | 6:02 pm EDT Update
The Celtics still have other assets at their disposal, as their $17.1 million trade exception that expires July 18 was not used in the Brogdon deal. But a league source said the team is now unlikely to use that to acquire another substantial piece. The source said the Celtics had actively pursued trades involving the exception over the past two weeks, but ultimately the deal involving Brogdon, whose salary was too large to fit into the exception, turned out to be the best option.