Nets coach Steve Nash said Kyrie Irving “looks great, considering” and is “getting close” to making his season debut, according to Peter Botte of The New York Post. Irving, who can only play in road games because he hasn’t complied with New York City’s vaccination requirement, could return Wednesday at Indiana, although Nash hasn’t committed to that date.
“He was in isolation for however many days, 10-plus days, I think. For him to come out of that and look as good as he has playing with the stay ready group and getting his rhythm back has been exciting,” Nash said. “We have to give him time to really get his feet under him, but as far as how he looks, he looks very gifted.”
Irving rejoined the team for practice last week after clearing health and safety protocols. If he doesn’t play Wednesday, the next opportunity will be January 12 at Chicago.
“I think he’s on his way. It’s getting close,” Nash added. “We’ve just got to make sure we don’t make a hasty decision, but it’s coming.”
There’s more from the Atlantic Division:
- Nash experimented Thursday by starting LaMarcus Aldridge and Nicolas Claxton on the front line alongside Kevin Durant and he may use that super-sized lineup again, Botte adds in a separate story. “That was really my first time being out there with L.A. (Aldridge). We’ll definitely adjust to it once we get more reps in. Hopefully, we go to it a lot in the near future,” Claxton said. “The biggest adjustment is just having another big on the court.”
- The Celtics will have to decide soon whether to be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline, and the team isn’t making the decision easy for president of basketball operations Brad Stevens, writes Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston. After going 6-9 in December, Boston closed out the month by routing the Suns, who have the second-best record in the league. The Celtics are currently in ninth place, part of a logjam of teams between fifth and 12th that are just three and a half games apart.
- With Isaac Bonga clearing protocols, the Raptors aren’t currently eligible for any more 10-day hardship contracts, tweets Blake Murphy of Sportsnet.ca. The team’s latest injury report lists Bonga as out for today’s game due to conditioning, rather than the health and safety protocols. Today marks the end of Daniel Oturu‘s 10-day deal.