Kevin Durant says Kyrie Irving will give Nets ‘much needed spark’

Nets Kevin Durant Kyrie Irving
FILE – Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) and Kevin Durant react against the Boston Celtics in the second half of Game 5 during an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Tuesday, June 1, 2021, in New York.
AP Photo/Adam Hunger, File

Kyrie Irving’s time being suspended by the Nets may be coming to an end very soon, and superstar Kevin Durant seemed hopeful to put everything behind them and move forward. 

Irving remained suspended for Thursday’s game against Portland, which marked the eighth game he sat out due to his suspension, but the star guard could be back on the court by Sunday when the Nets return to Brooklyn. ESPN reported Wednesday night that his suspension could be lifted by Sunday for the Nets game against the Memphis Grizzlies at Barclays Center.

The Nets have been on a West Coast road trip this past week and have not been in contact with Irving. 

“I haven’t talked to him since we’ve been on the road trip about it, the last couple of days,” Durant told reporters in Portland, according to Brian Lewis of the New York Post. “But we’re looking forward to his return to the team. Definitely gonna give us a much-needed spark.”

While the Irving situation has played out, the Nets have been trying to salvage what has developed into a rocky season in Kings County. They’ve gone 4-3 without Irving in the lineup during the time in which Irving has not been in the lineup. 

Away from the court, Irving has been working with the team and the NBA to go through the list of reported requirements that he had to fulfill in order to play. Durant was asked what he knew about the situation with his fellow Nets teammate, but he indicated he hadn’t been too aware of what was going on. 

“I don’t know the details about anything that’s going on,” Durant said. “I should know I guess because I’m part of the team, but I’ve been totally focused on the road trip. Once we get back home I’m sure that stuff will figure itself out. But hopefully it’s soon.”

The requirements the Nets put on Irving to return to the team have caused a bit of a stir around the NBA. Players like Jaylen Brown and LeBron James have stated publically that they felt he should be allowed to return to the floor.

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In a memo released last week, the NBA Players Association told its members “Kyrie’s rights, and the rights of all future players, executive director Tamika Tremaglio also told ESPN that Irving had been continuing his journey of “dialog” and “education.” 

“He has been grappling with the full weight of the impact of his voice and actions, particularly in the Jewish community,” Tremaglio said. “Kyrie rejects antisemitism in any form, and he’s dedicated to bettering himself and increasing his level of understanding. He plans to continue this journey well into the future to ensure that his words and actions align with his pursuit of truth and knowledge.”