Due to his unvaccinated status, Irving missed many months of court time. His return made headlines, sparking tension within the team and amongst fans. In a recent interview with NY Daily News, Irving doubled down on his allegiance to the Nets stating,
“I’d like to put together four straight years of team dominance. Winning 60-plus games. Going deep in the playoffs and having fun building relationships that extend beyond the court.”
In regards to the Nets’ 4-0 sweep by the Boston Celtics, in the first round of the NBA playoffs, Irving explained that he did not truly feel like he was back. He shared his thoughts on what it felt like to sit out because of New York City mandates and how that affected his mental health and his professional development,
“I was sitting at home, wondering at home what my future was going to look like, whether I was going to get traded, whether I was going to be released, whether I was going to get an opportunity to be on another team. How I was going to spin this for myself in a positive way.
I kept affirming to myself that things are going to change, people around me, I’m grateful to them for affirming that things were going to change. But I never felt like myself throughout the season because I’m usually sustaining a level of growth rather than trying to catch up with people who have been playing for 4-5 months…
I was not expecting a mandate to be brought down in a way that allowed me to not play at all. I had an opportunity to play away games still, there was no plan in place, no vision of how it was going to work for our team. I think that really impacted, not just me, but a lot of other people. Just had to sit in that hot seat for a little bit and deal with it.”
With the lack of success for Brooklyn this season, the Nets are currently facing a lot of uncertainty, however, it appears that Irving is still hoping to put in the work and continue what he started with the franchise.
Elsewhere in the NBA, Ben Simmons is set to undergo back surgery.