This afternoon’s game was the fifth that Kyrie Irving has missed since his suspension began, but Nets owner Joe Tsai told Brian Lewis of The New York Post that Irving “still has work to do” before he can resume playing. Irving is suspended indefinitely, but the team specified that he would miss at least five games when the penalty was announced. He has been given a list of six conditions that he must meet before reinstatement will be considered.
“He has to show people that he’s sorry,” Tsai said. “What’s important — and what people miss — is he only apologized after he was suspended.”
Head coach Jacque Vaughn told reporters that he hasn’t been given an estimate of when Irving might return, other than saying that he won’t play in Sunday’s game against the Lakers. Irving has started to fulfill the requirements set by the Nets, including separate meetings this week with Tsai and with NBA commissioner Adam Silver.
There’s more on the Nets:
- Brooklyn has won four of its five games with Irving suspended as Vaughn has instilled a more aggressive attitude in the team since replacing Steve Nash, Lewis adds. Vaughn compares his philosophy to a boxer throwing the first punch and believes it’s sustainable once Irving returns. “For this group, we have to be that way,” Vaughn said. “A big part of that is you see the different lineups. We play small at times. We’ve had Kevin (Durant), we’ve had Yuta (Watanabe), we’ve had Markieff (Morris) at center at times. So in order to do that you have to be scrappy and understand it won’t look pretty all the time. But the results are what matter.”
- Speaking to reporters after today’s game, Durant said Irving is handling the suspension well, tweets Nick Friedell of ESPN. “His spirits is high,” Durant said. “Looking forward to playing the game, you know Ky, he’s a gamer, he loves to play. So hopefully all this stuff is over with, we can move past it, and get him back on the floor soon.”
- The players are rallying around Vaughn after his official hiring was preceded by several days of rumors that Ime Udoka would be the next head coach, Lewis states in a separate story. “Yeah, you just never know in this business,” Nic Claxton said. “We all heard reports that we were supposed to be getting Ime within the next couple of days. But we’re excited that JV is our coach. He’s a really good coach. He’s inspiring and I’m ready to get things going.”