Nets' Joe Tsai 'patient' with Kyrie Irving but says Brooklyn can 'be a contending team' with current roster

Tsai told Nets Daily on Friday that he respects Irving’s decision to not get the vaccine, even if he doesn’t understand it, but added that the Nets won’t budge in their decision to let him play until he can fully participate.

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I have all the patience!” Tsai said. “He’s on the team right? He’s on the roster. He’s just not on the court. You’re in an environment where this is a team sport. You have to have patience with all sorts of things. He’s an elite player. We all know that. If he gets vaccinated, we’ll welcome him back on the team, but if he’s not vaccinated, we’ve made a decision that it would be too disruptive for him to come in and out of games, play only away games. So that was never going to fly. It’s that simple.

Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets attempts a jump shot against the Milwaukee Bucks in Game Two of the Second Round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs at Barclays Center on June 07, 2021 En nueva york.

Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets attempts a jump shot against the Milwaukee Bucks in Game Two of the Second Round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs at Barclays Center on June 07, 2021 En nueva york. (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)

Tsai said he hadmultiple conversationswith Irving regarding the vaccine but never tried to convince him to get it.

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I have generally stated to him that my belief is actually a matter of social responsibility because you’re not only doing it for yourself to prevent yourself from being seriously ill, but you’re also doing it for other people to protect others,” él continuó.

Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets looks on during the game against the Boston Celtics during Round 1, Juego 5 del 2021 NBA Playoffs on June 1, 2021 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, Nueva York.

Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets looks on during the game against the Boston Celtics during Round 1, Juego 5 del 2021 NBA Playoffs on June 1, 2021 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, Nueva York. (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

What I respected was the choice he made after investigating all the pros and cons and the facts. People are entitled to their own opinion and choice. So that’s something I respect. Pero, sabes, do I understand why he’s not doing it? Not really.

Irving said his decision not to get vaccinated was bigger than basketball, but Tsai said he believes the Nets will be contenders regardless of if he returns this season.

Brooklyn Nets' Kevin Durant (7) drives past Washington Wizards' Bradley Beal (3) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Monday, oct. 25, 2021, en Nueva York. The Nets won 104-90.

Redes de Brooklyn’ Kevin Durant (7) drives past Washington WizardsBradley Beal (3) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Monday, oct. 25, 2021, en Nueva York. The Nets won 104-90. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

“Mirar, anytime you lose an elite player, you wish he was coming back. The way I look at it is, we have Kevin Durant, we have James Harden, we have Joe Harris,” él dijo. “This is an amazing team! So I’m very confident that we’re going to be a contending team with this roster that we have.

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