‘What’s being mad going to do?’: Nets star Durant speaks on Irving predicament after teammate sidelined for Covid jab refusal
The Nets announced on Tuesday through general manager Sean Marks that, despite being available for away games, Durant won't feature at all in the upcoming season until he is a "full participant" under New York City's vaccine protocol.
This is due to the 29-year-old not having received at least one dose of the Covid vaccine, which rules him out of home fixtures at the Barclays Center and could cost him millions of dollars in lost earnings.
Yet after being accused of spreading misinformation, Irving has remained defiant and took to Instagram this week to claim his stance is "not about the money" and merely doing what's best for him.Also on rt.com ‘It’s not about the money’: NBA’s Irving insists vaccine choice is about freedom... but top pundit blasts ‘flat-out stupid’ stance
"I am not an advocate for either side," he claimed.
"I am doing what's best for me.
"I know the consequences here, and if it means that I'm judged and demonized for that, that's just what it is – that's the role I play."
Also ruling out retiring as had been rumored, Irving was adamant he has no problem with neither the NBA nor the Nets and that his attitude is not about "any one thing".
"It’s just about the freedom of what I want to do," he stated.
Following a 107-101 preseason win in Brooklyn over the reigning champion Minnesota Timberwolves, which Irving would have been made to sit out anyway, fellow Nets star Durant was probed on the developments.
"[I] definitely want Kyrie to be around," Durant, who has not spoken to Irving since Marks' announcement on Tuesday, admitted.
"I wish none of this stuff would happen, but this is the situation that we are in. Kyrie made his decision on what he wanted to do and he chose to do what he wanted to do, and the team did the same.
"It's on me to just focus on me, and do my job, and let those two parties handle that situation. I want our whole team together, and I want us to be at full strength, but sometimes it don't work out that way. But I am still positive that things will work out the best for both parties."
"I definitely want Kyrie to be around...Kyrie made his decision on what he wanted to do...and the team did the same. It's on me to just focus on me and do my job" - Kevin DurantDurant says he's "positive" things will work out between Irving & the Nets pic.twitter.com/lV0t1DFRjI— Nets Videos (@SNYNets) October 15, 2021
That being said, Durant also won't waste time getting upset about Irving's absence from an outfit that is expected to challenge the Timberwolves' crown this season.
"We still get to do [what] we love to do every day," he pointed out.
"This is not the ideal situation coming into the season. But some of this, it's out of our control. So, what we can do is come in and focus on our jobs every single day.
"What is being mad going to do? We are not going to change his mind, know what I'm saying? We'll let him figure out what he needs to do and the team figure out what they need to do."
"What is being mad going to do? We're not going to change his mind...life is amazing so I can't be too mad at somebody making a decision for themselves"Kevin Durant explains why the Nets aren't upset about Kyrie Irving being absent from the Nets pic.twitter.com/QFBwDMWXly— Nets Videos (@SNYNets) October 15, 2021
"I can't be too mad at somebody making a decision for themselves," Durant continued.
"Who am I to get upset at that? Just focus on what we got in this locker room.
"When [Irving] is ready, I am sure he will talk to [team owner] Joe [Tsai] and Sean [Marks] and they'll figure it out and they'll tell us. Until then we are going to keep grinding."
Next up for the Nets is another meeting with the Bucks, only this time in their season opener.
And until Irving is vaccinated, it is yet another clash he will be omitted from.