Kyrie Irving Sitting Out First Game Since Trade Request

In the wake of Friday’s trade request, Kyrie Irving won’t be active for the Nets‘ game tonight against the Wizards, tweets Nick Friedell of ESPN. Brooklyn has added Irving to its injury report, citing right calf soreness.

In a pre-game session with reporters, coach Jacque Vaughn said Irving didn’t attend the team’s afternoon walkthrough, and he’s not sure if Kyrie plans to show up for the game (Twitter link). Vaughn added that he considers Irving’s status to be day-to-day and doesn’t know when he might play again.

Vaughn reached out to Irving on Friday after the trade request became public, but not to talk about basketball or his future with the team, according to Brian Lewis of The New York Post (Twitter link).

“There’s a business side to this thing and there’s a human side to this thing,” Vaughn said. “I elected to touch on the human side and check on him as an individual. I’ll leave the business side to (general manager) Sean (Marks) and that group.”

If Irving has played his last game for Brooklyn, Vaughn faces the challenge of trying to keep the team competitive, especially while Kevin Durant remains sidelined with a right MCL sprain, Lewis adds. Vaughn instructed his players to remain focused on business and shut out the distractions.

“I said to them, we’re not gonna make this weird,” he stated. “We’re here to play, we’re here to do a job, show up and do your job. I said you’ve done the first step of this thing … let’s do the work to get a win tonight.”

There’s more news regarding Irving:

  • Friedell reports that the Nets’ locker room feels “off” after Irving’s decision, but some players expressed support for him (Twitter link). Nic Claxton and Royce O’Neale admitted they were surprised by the trade request, but Claxton dismissed the idea that Irving let the team down. “At the end of the day we’re all our own individuals,” he said.
  • In a full story for the New York Post (subscription required), Lewis examines the organization’s options with Irving and cites a limited market for a trade to be completed before Thursday’s deadline. The Lakers are considered to be the most interested suitor, with one Western Conference general manager telling Lewis, “I think there’s only one team that actually wants him.” Lewis also doesn’t believe it’s out of the question that Irving could eventually re-sign with Brooklyn if he’s not dealt.
  • John Hollinger of The Athletic identifies nine teams that might have some interest in trading for Irving, listing the Lakers as the number one option. Hollinger states that a three-team trade may be the most likely outcome and notes that Brooklyn will be asking for players who can help right away, rather than draft picks.
  • Sources tell Lauren L. Williams of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter link) that the Hawks won’t be among the teams pursuing Irving.
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