Nets head coach Steve Nash was direct Thursday when asked about Kyrie Irving‘s Instagram Live video, in which the All-Star guard went on a 20-minute tangent late Wednesday while explaining his vaccine stance and why he is against New York City’s mandate.
“To be honest, I didn’t listen to it,” Nash said before Brooklyn’s preseason finale, a 7:30 p.m. game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Barclays Center. “And I think I’ve pretty much said everything I have to say about it. If something changes, we can talk about it. But now I really want to focus on moving forward and our group, and solutions to the challenge ahead of us.”
Irving is not allowed to practice or play until he fulfills his vaccination requirement, the Nets announced Tuesday.
Without Irving, Nash believes the Nets are still capable of proceeding through the 2021-22 regular season and meeting championship expectations.
“Yeah, I mean, I think we still have a very high potential,” Nash said. “I think we have great characters in that locker room. We have veterans. We still are a talented group. We lost a very talented player, but we’re still a very talented group. And like I said, veterans and character and I think we can build something. So our goal hasn’t changed. Just the way there is going to be a little different.”
Kevin Durant and James Harden still headline the Nets’ roster, a veteran-laden group that Nash expects to pick itself up.
“I don’t know if I have anything exceptional to say on the matter other than we — when you lose an exceptional talent like that, your roster’s built in a certain way under the parameters of having three guys,” Nash said when asked about losing a player of Irving’s status entering the season. “And so, everyone has to slide up a spot — so to speak — or more.
“So to win with corporate knowledge, growth from last season, connectivity, with incredible team spirit and building those bonds that I think transfer on the court and off. And without getting too technical, I think those are the things that we’ll figure out as we go.
“But I think the exciting part is how can we come together and overcome and build something that we’re proud of and that we feel like, every night, we go out and we’re very competitive.”
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