Nets’ Kyrie Irving posts cryptic video lacing up sneakers as return rumors swirl

Kyrie Irving Nets
Kyrie Irving
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Kyrie Irving certainly knows how to drum up anticipation.

On Tuesday— just one day after reports emerged that the Brooklyn Nets have new-found optimism that they’ll get their star point guard back in the fold this season — the 29-year-old posted a video to his Instagram putting on a pair of sneakers:

Irving has yet to play in a game for the Nets this season after the team opted to keep him away from all facilities due to his decision not to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Due to New York City’s mandates against the virus that bars any unvaccinated person from entering large, shared indoor venues like the Barclays Center, Irving is not allowed to play in any Nets home games. However, if the Nets allowed it, he could have been available to play on the road in cities that do not have such strict protocols. 

Instead, Brooklyn opted to keep its roster as consistent as possible by keeping Irving out of its ranks completely rather than getting sporadic availability from a seven-time All-Star. 

Irving’s social media post was the first basketball-related thing seen on his Instagram page since Aug. 24 — well before the Nets’ 2021-22 season started and their decision to keep Irving away. So this very well could be teasing that he is on his way back to join Kevin Durant, James Harden, and a 19-8 Nets team that holds a two-game lead for first place in the Eastern Conference. 

However, the means of Irving’s return is still yet unknown. Either the Nets ease up on their banishment of Irving and allow him to play on the road and practice with the team at home or he gets the COVID-19 vaccine — which might have to be plant-based considering his diet.

There is no inclination that New York City and its Mayor-elect, Eric Adams, would ease up on its protocols that would allow the unvaccinated Irving to play at Barclays Center.