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Takeaways from eventful Nets Media Day starring Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, James Harden, David Letterman

Nets Media Day, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, James Harden, David Letterman

The Brooklyn Nets held Media Day on Monday. The biggest story surrounding the team at this time is whether or not Kyrie Irving is vaccinated and if he’ll be eligible to play in Brooklyn’s 41 regular-season home games. Everything else sort of pales in comparison at this point. We came into Media Day wondering if reports suggesting Irving is not vaccinated were true and if indeed that means he won’t be able to play in New York. Spoiler alert, we didn’t gain much clarity there, but we can read the tea leaves a bit. Let’s look at what we learned during Nets Media Day.

Nets Media Day takeaways

Kyrie Irving appears via Zoom and Instagram Live but not in person

Before Media Day, we learned that Kyrie Irving would not attend in person because of health and safety protocols.

It was reported last week that Irving is not vaccinated. The fact that “health protocols” are preventing him from attending Media Day like his teammates would seem to confirm as much. At least it’s more fuel to the fire.

The assumed reason for this is that he’s not allowed at the facility because of a local New York vaccination mandate. The NBA itself is not requiring players to be vaccinated, however, New York and San Francisco both have their own local regulations which do apply to players on the Nets, New York Knicks and Golden State Warriors.

That’s the background. So did today clear anything up? Addressing that topic, Irving didn’t add much in terms of clarification:

By admitting “obviously I’m not able to be present today,” it does sound like he’s tacitly acknowledging the fact he’s restricted from attending in-person events with the team at this time:

He did note that he’s not placing any “limits in the future” on his being with the team and talked about being a leader on the Nets. That makes it sound like it’s at least possible he’s open to being vaccinated in the future … or he is confident he can get New York to grant him some type of medical or religious exemption:

Bottom line, there’s more than enough information now for us to make a comfortable inference that Irving is not vaccinated. Because of that, there’s more than enough reason to officially worry he won’t be able to play in home games until that changes.

Irving added that he does not want to be a distraction, but he really stole the show here:

It’s safe to say he’s very much a distraction right now. Admit it, how many of you came here for updates on Patty Mills’ haircut or Nic Claxton’s contract extension? Probably not many:

For what it’s worth, we also learned that a few of Irving’s teammates do not sound overly concerned he would miss all of the home games. Kevin Durant was asked if he was concerned Irving would not be available in Brooklyn. KD responded by simply saying, “No.”

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst followed up by asking this: “So you expect that not to be an issue?”

Durant responded like so: “I expect it not to be. It’s on Kyrie and that’s his personal decision. I expect us to have our whole team at some point.”

So just when that point is we can all wonder:

But in terms of any official word, we’re not there yet:

Other keys

There were some other things that happened. James Harden was asked about a potential contract extension:

Harden said he didn’t see himself anywhere else, but he did add that he’d work on any potential extension on his own time. He’s taking a patient approach there. It’s beginning to sound like he will sign a long-term extension. Nets GM Sean Marks mentioned they had positive talks regarding one last week as well.

Kevin Durant of all people provided some levity

Kevin Durant had some fun with Dave Letterman, a surprise addition to Media Day, claiming to be “Dave from Basketball Digest.” This was amusing:

We’ve known KD to be able to keep a pretty good straight face in the past. Here, he doesn’t break character until after Letterman leaves and Durant quipped, “They let anybody in here.”

That got the room cracking up and, finally, KD started to smile too, showing he was in on the gag. It sounds like he’s going to be a guest on Letterman’s interview show, “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction.”

KD also talked about his extension, frankly the Nets’ best piece of offseason news:

There was also a bit of levity from Marks, referring to how close the team was to knocking off the eventual champs:

Injury updates

Another big question: How healthy are Harden (hamstring) and Irving (ankle) feeling? We got updates there as well:

Irvng’s update on his ankle wasn’t quite as rosy as Harden’s:

I’m guessing Irving isn’t quite 100 percent based on this answer, but it’s great that Harden is. We spotted him working out over the weekend:

Oh, and Patty Mills has jokes too:

Now we wait. The season isn’t far away and the home opener is in a month on Oct. 24. Nets fans can simply hope that their best players will all be feeling healthy and in the lineup that night.