Kyrie Irving was out Thursday and may be out indefinitely due to personal reasons.
Durant is out because of COVID-19 protocols, so Irving was the surprise absence. The report before the game was that he called off for personal reasons, and head coach Steve Nash did not have any insight on the situation.
A source close to Kyrie said he is OK, but didn’t know when he would return https://t.co/TqMtl7YY7W
— Joe Vardon (@joevardon) January 7, 2021
Kyrie may be out even longer
The Athletic’s Joe Vardon learned that Irving may be out for an extended period of time.
Kyrie Irving is not expected to join the Nets on their flight to Memphis tonight, per a source. ‘He’s not coming’ is what I was told. BKN plays the Grizzlies Friday @TheAthleticNBA
— Joe Vardon (@joevardon) January 8, 2021
There is already plenty of speculation on social media, but we will avoid doing any of that here. Irving is a grown adult and missing a game for personal reasons, especially given recent national events, is not something to poke fun at or create theories about.
The Nets were able to pull off a 122-109 victory without both of their stars. Joe Harris led the way with 28 points off the bench, and five players finished with double figures in scoring.
Steve Nash was brought in specifically to manage the big personalities on this Nets roster. Irving calling off work right before a game may cause major drama on other NBA teams. For the Nets, Nash supported his player when speaking with the media and went out and picked up a victory.
Irving has looked great when he has been on the floor this season. He is averaging 27.1 points per game, trailing only Durant for the team lead. The point guard is also averaging over six assists per game in his seven total appearances.
The Nets are obviously a better team with Irving on the floor. But they also want him in the right headspace, and taking some time for himself early in the regular season isn’t going to cause mass chaos in Brooklyn.