Joe Tsai

Nets Notes: Irving, Tsai, Vaughn, Durant

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.”

Latest On Kyrie Irving

Kyrie Irving, who has been suspended for the Nets‘ last four games after sharing antisemitic content, has met with the team, the NBA, and the National Basketball Players Association on “several occasions” in recent days, the NBPA told players in an email obtained by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

According to Wojnarowski (Twitter link), the players’ union said in that email that Irving’s rights “have been protected at every turn” and that “the NBPA “(looks) forward very soon to a resolution of all matters satisfactory to all parties.” The memo also reiterated that both the NBPA and Irving “unequivocally condemn antisemitism and all other forms of hate.”

When the Nets initially announced Irving’s suspension, the team stated the ban would cover at least five games, so the guard will miss Saturday’s contest against the Clippers. In theory, he could accompany the Nets on their four-game road trip and suit up as early as Sunday vs. the Lakers.

However, head coach Jacque Vaughn told reporters today that there’s no update on Irving and that he still hasn’t talked to the seven-time All-Star (Twitter link via Nick Friedell of ESPN), so it remains unclear if he’ll play in any of the games out west. According to Wojnarowski (Twitter link), there’s “skepticism” that Irving will return to action on Sunday, and it’s not a lock he’ll be back on Tuesday vs. Sacramento either.

Shortly after Vaughn spoke to the media, Nets owner Joe Tsai put out a statement announcing that he and his wife (and Nets co-owner) Clara Wu Tsai met with Irving and his family on Thursday.

“We spent quality time to understand each other and it’s clear to me that Kyrie does not have any beliefs of hate towards Jewish people or any group,” Tsai said (Twitterlinks). “The Nets and Kyrie, together with the NBA and NBPA, are working constructively toward a process of forgiveness, healing and education.”

NBA commissioner Adam Silver conveyed a similar message on Thursday, telling Sopan Deb of The New York Times that he doesn’t believe Irving is antisemitic.

“We had a direct and candid conversation,” Silver said. “He’s someone I’ve known for a decade, and I’ve never heard an antisemitic word from him or, frankly, hate directed at any group … (But) whether or not he is antisemitic is not relevant to the damage caused by the posting of hateful content.”

While none of the latest comments and reports shed any real light on when Irving might play again for the Nets, most of them seem to point toward it happening sooner or later. That’s a change in tone from what we hearing at the start of the week, when one report indicated there was “growing pessimism” in some corners of the league that Kyrie would ever play for Brooklyn again.

Here’s more on Irving:

  • Two sources told Ian Begley of (Twitter link) that Thursday’s meeting between Irving and the Tsais was “very positive,” which bodes well for his chances of returning to the team.
  • Irving’s teammates Royce O’Neale and Nic Claxton both told reporters on Friday that they’ve been in touch with Irving and he has been in good spirits (Twitter links via Friedell).
  • After saying last week that he didn’t condone Irving’s actions, LeBron James came to the defense of his former teammate on Thursday, tweeting that Irving has apologized and should be allowed to return to the court. “What he’s (been) asked to do to get back on the floor I think is excessive,” James wrote. “He’s not the person that’s being portrayed of him.”
  • As Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press writes, Nike co-founder Phil Knight told CNBC on Thursday that the relationship between Nike and Irving is likely over for good. “Kyrie stepped over the line,” Knight said. “It’s kind of that simple. He made some statements that we just can’t abide by and that’s why we ended the relationship. And I was fine with that.”

Nets Notes: Irving, Udoka, Simmons, Durant, Curry

In an in-depth report for ESPN, Ramona Shelburne and Adrian Wojnarowski go into more detail on Wojnarowski’s earlier assertion that Nets owner Joe Tsai faced pressure from the NBA and from Nets management to take a more punitive approach following Kyrie Irving‘s promotion of an antisemitic film and initial refusal to apologize.

As ESPN’s duo outlines, Tsai hoped the incident could become a teachable moment for Irving, but ultimately gave up and decided to suspend Irving following his media session on Thursday. Irving’s refusal during that session to apologize or outright deny that he held antisemitic views convinced the Nets owner that Kyrie’s joint statement with the team and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) had been insincere.

Another source of frustration for Tsai, according to ESPN’s report, was that he wasn’t able to communicate directly with Irving, with communication being channeled “completely” through Kyrie’s stepmother and agent Shetellia Riley Irving.

When Tsai and the Nets ultimately decided to suspend the star guard for at least five games, the team sent an email to Irving’s agent describing the steps he needed to take to be reinstated, including taking training sessions on the dangers of hate speech, per Shelburne and Wojnarowski.

Although it has been Irving’s off-court behavior that dominated headlines in the last week, the situation seemed to affect him on the court as well. According to Shelburne and Woj, teammates and opponents privately described Irving as “disengaged and seemingly ‘in another world'” on Tuesday when he went scoreless for three quarters vs. Chicago.

Among the other recent developments in the Irving saga? Nike has suspended its relationship with the seven-time All-Star, according to Nick Friedell of ESPN; the Nets and the ADL sent a letter to Jeff Bezos and Amazon leaders asking the website to either remove the book and movie that Irving promoted from its platform or add more details about the misinformation it contains (Twitter link via Shams Charania of The Athletic); and Irving’s former teammate LeBron James said he doesn’t condone Kyrie’s comments, telling reporters that they “caused some harm to a lot of people” (link via Dan Woike of The Los Angeles Times).

Here’s more on the Nets:

  • Brooklyn continues to work through the final stages of vetting the potential hiring of Ime Udoka as head coach, sources tell Shelburne and Wojnarowski.
  • An MRI on Ben Simmons‘ troublesome left knee came back clean, the Nets said on Friday, per Friedell at While that MRI didn’t show any serious damage, Simmons has experienced some swelling and had the knee drained this week. He has been ruled out at least through Saturday’s game.
  • Wojnarowski said on Friday during an appearance on NBA Today that he believes Simmons has been a “source of frustration” for Kevin Durant and others on the Nets (video link via Clutch Points). “He has been unable – now he’s unable – to stay on the floor with a knee injury, but prior to that, he has shown that he is a long way away from being back to being an impactful player,” Wojnarowski said. “I think it’s a big part of the reason why the Nets are at the very bottom of the league defensively.”
  • If the instability in Brooklyn continues, the Nets will have to be concerned about the possibility that Durant revives the trade request that he dropped in August, Wojnarowski said in another TV appearance on Friday (video link). In the latest episode of his Lowe Post podcast (video link), ESPN’s Zach Lowe suggests that other teams will be hoping for that outcome: “The vultures are going to circle on Durant. Those vultures expect the Nets to put on a strong face for a while. To not rush it, to posture – probably honestly – that, ‘No, he has four years left on his contract. … We control the situation, we’re trying to win, we don’t want to do this.'”
  • While neither Wojnarowski nor Lowe expects Durant to request a trade again in the near future, Howard Beck of argues that the Nets should blow things up anyway and move on entirely from the Durant-Irving era in Brooklyn.
  • Seth Curry, who has played just once this season as he returns from left ankle surgery, is expected to be available on Saturday vs. Charlotte, tweets Brian Lewis of The New York Post.

Nets Notes: Irving, Simmons, Tsai, Udoka, Snyder

Neither Kyrie Irving nor Ben Simmons will be available for the Nets this weekend, as Irving begins to serve a suspension levied against him by the team and Simmons remains sidelined due to a knee issue. Still, while Irving has disappointed the franchise off the court and Simmons hasn’t looked like his old self on the court, a trade involving either player is unlikely to happen anytime soon.

ESPN’s Zach Lowe said on the most recent episode of his Lowe Post podcast that Irving is essentially “radioactive” as a potential trade candidate (hat tip to RealGM): “Even if you drop the price to nothing, the baggage is just too much.”

As for Simmons, Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports stated on his own podcast – Please Don’t Aggregate This – that he doesn’t believe the former No. 1 overall pick has any trade value either.

“I was talking to the team who has designs to rebuild Monday night when I was at Barclays Center,” Fischer said, per HoopsHype. “And like I asked that question, and I was told pretty point blank that they would have been interested in him before the season started and seven or eight games later now that interest has dissipated.”

Here’s more on the Nets:

  • Addressing the apology to the Jewish community that Irving posted on Instagram late last night, Nets general manager Sean Marks said today that it was “a step” in the right direction, but that he still wants to have Irving meet with the team and Jewish leaders before being reinstated, according to Brian Lewis of The New York Post (Twitter links). Marks added that Brooklyn has not considered waiving Irving.
  • Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt also referred to Irving’s apology as an “encouraging step,” but said the ADL still isn’t accepting Irving’s donation, as he first announced on Thursday (Twitter links).
  • ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said on Friday during an appearance on Get Up (video link) that Nets owner Joe Tsai had initially hoped Irving’s misstep could be a “teachable moment,” without any significant team discipline required, while Nets management and the NBA had pushed Tsai to be more punitive. Following Irving’s repeated refusal to apologize or to clarify that he isn’t antisemitic, Tsai realized a more serious step was necessary.
  • Although Marks has denied that any decisions have been made about the Nets’ next head coach, the team is believed to be in the final stages of negotiations with Ime Udoka, according to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, who notes that Marks and Udoka have the same representatives at CAA and says he expects those talks to conclude in the coming days. Despite Quin Snyder being considered a potential target for Brooklyn following Steve Nash‘s exit, the team had no substantial contact with Snyder to gauge his interest in the job, sources tell Fischer.
  • In a roundtable for The Athletic, Alex Schiffer, Jay King, and Jared Weiss discuss why the Nets would hire Udoka following his ugly exit from Boston. Meanwhile, Ian O’Connor of The New York Post argues that rushing into a deal with Udoka will be Brooklyn’s latest losing bet.

Atlantic Notes: Thybulle, Kyrie, Reddish, Mazzulla

Given his offensive shortcomings, it was understandable that Matisse Thybulle wasn’t part of the Sixers‘ regular rotation early in the season, but the team’s defensive woes made it clear he needed to get a shot, Rich Hofmann of The Athletic wrote ahead of Friday’s game in Toronto.

Thybulle got that shot on Friday. After playing just six scoreless minutes in the team’s first five games, the fourth-year wing logged 22 minutes in Philadelphia’s win over the Raptors and held his own on both ends of the court. Thybulle initially passed up on one open three-point opportunity, then had another blocked, but he responded by continuing to shoot and made a pair of attempts from beyond the arc.

“The old me would have folded in that moment,” Thybulle said, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. “Like you pass up, you get a little shook on your first attempt. On your second attempt, you get blocked. I think the old me folds and isn’t able to show up for those next two shots and make them. So I mean, honestly, to be able to sit here and be proud of myself feels really good. And to sit in the locker room and give myself my flowers and say, ‘Yeah, you did the work and you trusted it and were able to let it come through during the game.'”

It’s a big year for Thybulle, who will be eligible for restricted free agency during the 2023 offseason after not signing a rookie scale extension with the Sixers before the season began.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • According to Alex Schiffer of The Athletic, Nets owner Joe Tsai and the team have condemned Kyrie Irving‘s social media posts promoting the 2018 film ‘Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America,’ which is widely considered to be antisemitic, as Jon Blistein of Rolling Stone details. “I’m disappointed that Kyrie appears to support a film based on a book full of antisemitic disinformation,” Tsai tweeted. “I want to sit down and make sure he understands this is hurtful to all of us, and as a man of faith, it is wrong to promote hate based on race, ethnicity or religion.”
  • Cam Reddish hasn’t just been earning regular rotation minutes for the Knicks so far — he has also been part of some of the team’s crunch-time lineups, writes Peter Botte of The New York Post. After playing nearly the full overtime period in Wednesday’s win over Charlotte, Reddish said that his confidence is “sky high,” adding that he thinks he’s “doing a pretty good job trying to find my niche.” The fourth-year forward will be eligible for restricted free agency in 2023.
  • Steve Bulpett of solicited some early opinions on Celtics interim head coach Joe Mazzulla, and the reviews were generally positive. “Joe’s like Ime (Udoka) in the way that he’s not afraid to be straight with guys and go at them when he has to,” a source close to the situation told Bulpett. “But he also knows what went wrong last year and that there’s some basic stuff that needs fixing.” One opposing personnel source did question Mazzulla’s rotation decisions, opining that it’s too early in the season to be leaning so heavily on the team’s top seven or eight players.

Kevin Durant Notes: Reactions, Next Steps, More

While the Nets confirmed on Tuesday that Kevin Durant is officially off the trade market, some rival executives remain skeptical about just how hard the team tried to move him this summer, as Steve Bulpett of writes.

“What Brooklyn was asking for was ridiculous,” one executive involved in the process told Bulpett. “They knew it. We knew it.”

If the Nets’ intention all along was to hang onto Durant by setting an asking price that no team would be willing to meet, the situation played out exactly as they hoped. But even if they genuinely attempted to move him following his June 30 trade request, another league executive was impressed by how they handled the saga, Bulpett writes.

“Brooklyn just said, ‘Enough of this s–t.’ And good for them,” the exec told “This should be a blueprint for every team that goes through something like this. … It’s important to maintain good relationships and loyalty and all that with your players, but if the player is doing something that’s hurting the team — hurting the business — then you have to stand your ground and remember how you got the money to buy the team in the first place.”

One league source who spoke to Bulpett suggested that Nets owner Joe Tsai was determined to reclaim control of the franchise after having all but ceded that control to Durant and Kyrie Irving for a few years when they signed with the team in 2019.

“He gave them the keys to the Ferrari and they took it out and they wrecked it — and he decided he wasn’t going to give them another set of keys,” that source said. “The statement he made on Twitter? That was Joe Tsai saying that he was going to be the one who decides who drives, and it isn’t going to be them.”

Here are several more items on Durant and the Nets:

  • The Nets and Durant can talk about moving forward with their partnership all they want, but the foundation in Brooklyn has been fractured, according to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, who says the team is under pressure to win in 2022/23 or risk finding itself in a similar situation next offseason.
  • The Durant drama helped mask other major questions facing the Nets, including what they can realistically expect from Irving and Ben Simmons in ’22/23 after the two stars essentially had lost seasons in ’21/22, writes Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports.
  • A handful of ESPN’s analysts, including Tim Bontemps and Bobby Marks, explore where Durant and the Nets go from here and make predictions about how long Durant and Irving will remain in Brooklyn and where the team currently stands in the East’s pecking order.
  • In a YouTube video, ESPN’s Bobby Marks says one of his main takeaways from the Durant saga is that it’s OK for players to request trades and for teams ultimately not to grant those requests, suggesting that major changes to the league’s Collective Bargaining Agreement shouldn’t be necessary.
  • What exactly does Durant want? That question seems harder than ever to answer in the wake of this offseason’s drama, according to Chris Herring of, who says it’s unclear whether KD’s top priority is to win championships or to have things completely on his terms.
  • In a column for The New York Post, Mike Vaccaro paints the Nets’ leadership group in an unflattering light and refers to the last couple months in Brooklyn as “the most laughable basketball saga we’ve ever seen.”

Nets Owner Tsai Publicly Supports Marks, Nash

Nets owner Joe Tsai went on social media Monday night to declare his support for the team’s front office and coaching staff, apparently closing the door on the possibility of Kevin Durant wearing a Brooklyn uniform again.

On his Twitter account, Tsai stated “Our front office and coaching staff have my support. We will make decisions in the best interest of the Brooklyn Nets.”

Tsai met with the disgruntled superstar forward in London on Saturday. Earlier on Monday, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that Durant reiterated his trade request at that meeting, declaring he would only withdraw it if Tsai fired general manager Sean Marks and head coach Steve Nash. Durant, who is entering the first year of a four-year max extension, told Tsai that he doesn’t have faith in the team’s direction.

It would have been stunning for an owner to bend to his superstar’s wishes and fire the GM and coach, then essentially let the player pick the replacements. So Tsai’s decision to publicly back Marks and Nash isn’t surprising.

The franchise’s approach to Durant’s trade request remains to be seen. There’s speculation that Durant made the ultimatum to put pressure on the front office to lower its trade demands. It’s also uncertain whether Durant will show up if he’s still on the roster during training camp.

Nets’ Durant Reportedly Reiterates Trade Request, Gives Tsai Ultimatum

In a face-to-face meeting with Nets owner Joe Tsai in London on Saturday, star forward Kevin Durant reiterated his desire to be traded and gave Tsai an ultimatum, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.

According to Charania, Durant told the Nets owner that he needs to choose between trading him or firing general manager Sean Marks and head coach Steve Nash. Durant said that he doesn’t have faith in the team’s direction, sources tell The Athletic.

Charania says his sources described Saturday’s meeting as “transparent and professional,” adding that the Nets have “direct knowledge of the reasons behind Durant’s request” and have reason to believe he’ll be resolute in his stance. People around the NBA have speculated about the possibility that the two-time Finals MVP won’t report to training camp if the Nets don’t make a deal within the next seven weeks, per Charania.

Sources tell The Athletic that Brooklyn has spoken to nearly every team in the NBA about a possible Durant trade, but no club has met the Nets’ “sky-high” asking price. According to Charania, the Celtics, Heat, and Raptors are widely viewed as the most legitimate suitors for the 33-year-old, who is entering the first season of a four-year, maximum-salary extension.

Charania cites sources who say that Tsai and the Nets have “made clear privately that they will take every last asset from a team that trades for Durant.” However, it’s hard to see how the team has the leverage to make that sort of deal, given these latest developments in the summer saga.

Of course, Marks and Nash held their current positions when Durant signed that four-year extension a year ago, and the star forward was believed to have played a role in Nash’s hiring in the first place, back in 2020. It’s unclear why Durant has soured to such a significant extent on Brooklyn’s leadership group.

It’s possible Durant’s dissatisfaction is related, at least in part, to the team’s handling of his good friend Kyrie Irving. The Nets refused to allow Irving to be a part-time player during the first half of last season when vaccine requirements prohibited him from playing home games. The club then opted against offering Kyrie a lucrative long-term extension this offseason.

While recent reports have indicated that Irving plans to be a Net to start the 2022/23 season, there’s a belief that Brooklyn will seriously consider trading him if and when the team finds a Durant deal it likes.

Kevin Durant To Meet With Nets Owner Joe Tsai?

It has been over a month since star forward Kevin Durant requested a trade out of Brooklyn, and with no indication that any deal is imminent, Steve Bulpett of cites a source who says a meeting between Durant and Nets owner Joe Tsai is expected to take place in the coming days.

“What I’m hearing is that KD is going to meet with the owner this week,” Bulpett’s source said. “He’s going to go directly to the owner, Joe Tsai, sometime this week. We’ll see how that works.”

Assuming that meeting takes place, it’s unclear what would come of it. It’s possible Durant wants to reiterate his request to be moved and to check in on where things stand. It’s also not out of the realm of possibility that he could back off that trade request if he gets certain assurances from Tsai and the Nets.

“I have no idea what’s going to come of that meeting,” the source told Bulpett. “There are some things that KD is unhappy about, and I’m not sure any of that gets fixed here. But maybe it does.”

The most recent solid rumor we heard related to the Durant sweepstakes surfaced last Monday, when ESPN and The Athletic reported that the Celtics had talked to the Nets about a possible deal and had been willing to include Jaylen Brown in their offer. Subsequent reporting has suggested that the offer in question was weeks old, and Bulpett says some of his sources have pushed back against the notion that it was ever really on the table.

The fact that the Celtics’ interest – and Brown’s potential availability – leaked at all didn’t sit well with some people around the NBA, one personnel executive from another club told Bulpett.

“I think there’s some teams that aren’t very happy that when they talk to Brooklyn it gets in the papers,” the executive said. “That doesn’t help. I’ve talked with a couple of teams that are not happy with the rumors that creep out of there through all this. It’s not a good way to do business.”

The exec added that he the Celtics and Nets “haven’t had any conversations for a while” and expressed skepticism that the two teams will get a deal done, according to Bulpett.

Atlantic Notes: Achiuwa, Irving, Embiid, Sixers

Precious Achiuwa could be a strong candidate for Most Improved Player next season, Raptors coach Nick Nurse said in a recent appearance on the Rapcity Keleten-Nyugaton podcast (hat tip to Aaron Rose of All Raptors).

“Wait till this year because every time I see him this summer on the court it’s total focus, total intensity,” Nurse said. “I mean, something happened to him where he now understands what playing in the NBA is about and he is on a mission.”

The 22-year-old center got off to a rough start in his first season with Toronto, but he seemed like a different player after the All-Star break. He averaged 12.2 points per game over the last part of the season and shot 39% from three-point range.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • There may be a thaw in the relationship between Nets management and Kyrie Irving, according to Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Lewis notes that owner Joe Tsai recently retweeted a post praising Irving after the paper reported that he plans to play the upcoming season in Brooklyn. Tsai retweeted another post related to the “NYC Point Gods” documentary that suggested Irving would have excelled in the old era of New York City playgrounds and added the word “truth.” Irving responded with a video of burning sage, which is used by Native Americans to get rid of negative energy.
  • Thumb and finger surgery prevented Sixers center Joel Embiid from playing for the French national team this summer, per Basket News. Former NBA player Boris Diaw, who serves as general manager for the French team, said Embiid is in the process of being registered as a player for the national team. “His request for naturalization has been accepted,” Diaw said. “We know that he’s still waiting for the French passport. When he obtains it, then he can start the process and apply for a FIBA license for the national team.” Embiid is expected to make his debut with France during the 2023 World Cup.
  • Kyle Neubeck of The Philly Voice examines the options for the Sixers‘ fifth starter and compares how the team would look with P.J. Tucker, Danuel House, Matisse Thybulle or De’Anthony Melton in a starting role alongside Embiid, James Harden, Tobias Harris, and Tyrese Maxey.