Nets Notes: Irving, Harden, Millsap, Aldridge

Nets guard Kyrie Irving, who reportedly hasn’t received the COVID-19 vaccine, deflected questions about his vaccination status when he spoke to reporters on Zoom today, as Brian Windhorst and Zach Lowe of ESPN write.

Irving presumably wasn’t able to attend Brooklyn’s Media Day in person due to New York’s regulations prohibiting unvaccinated individuals from indoor venues, but he repeatedly requested privacy when asked about that issue, telling reporters he’d provide more information at a later date.

“I know that I’ll be there every day no matter what and just be present for my teammates as one of the leaders on the team and be there for my growing tribe off the court,” Irving said. “I know the focus has to be at an all-time high, no distractions. This is the last thing I wanted to create, was more distractions and more hoopla and more drama around this. I’m doing my best to maintain this with good intentions and a good heart.”

The Nets’ training camp is taking place in San Diego, so Irving will be able to take part in it. However, once the team returns to New York, he won’t be able to practice at Brooklyn’s facility or play in home games unless he gets vaccinated or receives an exemption.

Here’s more on the Nets:

  • Both Irving and James Harden confirmed they’ve talked to the Nets about potential contract extensions, but indicated they’re not rushing into new deals. “I’m focused on trying to bring a championship to the city. But as far as an extension, I’m just being patient with it,” Harden said, per Adam Zagoria of Forbes. “I went through a lot last year and I want to make sure I’m in the right mind set and knowing long-term that ultimately I want to be in Brooklyn for the rest of my career. So it’s no rush.”
  • Irving offered the following comments on his own extension talks, according to Zagoria: “I’m just taking it one day at a time, and I’m same as James, just being patient and we’re still openly communicating and just wait and see. We know that the future is on our side, just being able to maximize our potential in these next coming years.”
  • Speaking today to reporters, Paul Millsap said he chose to sign with the Nets in free agency because earning a championship ring is his top priority and he believes it’s “definitely possible” in Brooklyn (Twitter link via Zagoria). Millsap drew interest from a handful of teams as a free agent, including some that might’ve given him a larger role.
  • LaMarcus Aldridge said he talked to one other team in free agency, but preferred to return to the Nets, tweets Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. Aldridge added that he announced his retirement in the spring following his health scare because he didn’t want to leave the Nets hanging while he figured out his situation (Twitter link via Brian Lewis of The New York Post). Once he had more time to evaluate all his options this summer, he realized he wanted to resume playing.
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