LOS ANGELES — Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant and his teammates still aren’t sure when Kyrie Irving will return to the team, but Durant says he’s been in communication with Irving recently and his spirits are “high.”
“Looking forward to playing the game, you know Ky, he’s a gamer, he loves to play,” Durant said after Saturday’s 110-95 win over the LA Clippers. “So hopefully all this stuff is over with, we can move past it and get him back on the floor soon.”
Irving on Saturday served the fifth game of a minimum of five games for his refusal to condemn the contents of an antisemitic film he shared on his social media account, with coach Jacque Vaughn saying before Saturday’s game that Irving will be out at least another game Sunday against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Like many of his teammates, Durant still has no feel for when Irving may return.
“That’s been out of our control. And as players we try to lock in on the game, practices,” Durant said. “So we just try to lock in and whenever that figures itself out, it will. That’s over a lot of our heads right now so we just got to control what we can.
Nets owner Joe Tsai was at Saturday’s game sitting courtside.
Sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Friday that there is no momentum for a possible return to play for Irving during this four-game Western Conference trip that ends Thursday at Portland. The Nets return home vs. Memphis on Nov. 20.
Irving, whose suspension began Nov. 3, has been in contact with some teammates, but players and coaches remain unsure when he will return.
Irving continues to follow the steps the organization outlined as part of his return to the team. Those steps included meeting with Jewish leaders in the Brooklyn community and going through anti-hate counseling.
He met with NBA commissioner Adam Silver this week as well as Tsai, who tweeted Friday that he and his wife Clara met with Irving on Thursday and noted that “it’s clear to me that Kyrie does not have any beliefs of hate towards Jewish people or any group.”
While players expressed optimism after practice Friday that Irving might return soon, Vaughn made it clear that any timetable is still unclear.
“Joe put out that statement [Friday],” Vaughn said. “It kind of shows where the collaboration and alignment is right now. I have no update on a timetable at all.”