All-Star guard Kyrie Irving “will not play or practice with the team until he is eligible to be a full participant,” the Brooklyn Nets said Tuesday morning. At the moment, becoming qualified to fully engage in New York City standards requires Irving to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, which he has vehemently rejected to this point and will allegedly continue to do despite Tuesday’s revelation. The Nets will continue to pursue a championship without him until that mindset changes, if it ever does.
James Harden addressed the collected media on Wednesday, saying that he and the club “respect” Irving’s conviction in his ideas, but that his personal goal remains a championship, and that he has not spoken with Irving since the development on Tuesday.
“We all love Kai. But as far as us, we have a job to do. And individually, myself, I’m still wanting to set myself up for a championship,” Harden said, via James Herbert. “I feel like the entire organization is on the same path and we’re a collective unit. So, we’ll keep pushing forward and we’ll try to do our best every single day to get better and keep going as a collective unit.”
Harden claimed “we had chats as a collective unit” about Brooklyn’s decision to ban Irving from joining the team as a part-time player, but that he had no input in the final decision.
“I can only state my opinion and we’re gonna continue to move forward,” he said. “Obviously, we would love to have Kyrie here. I think for us, we just gotta focus on the guys in this locker room that’s here, that’s putting in the work every single day. That’s all we can control. That’s all we can focus on.”