Kyrie Irving missed his third-straight game due to personal reasons Sunday. Prior to Sunday’s loss against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Post-game, a couple of reporters asked Kevin Durant about his friend.
KD firmly but respectfully declined to comment, but provided some insight into the depth of the issue that’s keeping him from playing.
Durant said he didn’t want to speak for his teammate. He would rather have the Nets point guard do that himself when the time is right.
“I won’t speak on Kyrie. I’ll let him do that for himself,” Durant said. “I’m sure you guys will see him soon whenever he comes back and we support him 100 percent and pray for the best.”
It has been reported that Irving is upset by the attack on the U.S. Capitol in Washington by supporters of President Donald Trump. It is also reported that the lack of punishment for the police officers who shot and killed the unarmed 26-year-old Breonna Taylor last March also contributed to Irving’s personal absence. Irving, a vice president of the players’ union, was also outspoken about police killings of unarmed black people in the run-up to the NBA “bubble” in Orlando.
Durant was also asked in general about the effect the insurrection has had on the team. The Nets 32-year-old superstar said he doesn’t know how his teammates are handling the situation and wouldn’t speak for everybody on last week’s events ... or the effect of COVID.
“I can’t speak for everybody. I don’t know how guys are handling this situation,” Durant said. “Guys feel excited to come into work and excited to play. I really don’t know for a fact how guys are feeling right now but as far as the games concern, I think everybody is excited to play and understand that there are some weird circumstances with COVID but guys are just coming to work and being professionals.”
It is worth noting that the Nets are now calling Irving’s absence a “personal leave,” which would seem to suggest some sort of agreement between the team and the player on his absence.
Like Durant, Steve Nash told the Nets media that we will hear from the 28-year-old point guard at some point.
“Ky is still on personal leave and all the communication with Ky between the organization I’m going to keep private,” explained Nash. “I’m sure you’ll hear from him at some point.”