Nets general manager Sean Marks said the team is “disappointed” that Kyrie Irving remains absent from the team, but that Irving is “excited to be back on the field as soon as possible”.
Irving hasn’t played since Jan. 5 and missed five games for “personal reasons.” Meanwhile, Irving was seen on video without a mask at a family birthday party and was also spotted this week on a Zoom call for a political candidate in New York.
“We’re going to let Kyrie work this out in her own way,” Marks said Thursday in a Zoom call to officially announce the addition of James Hardena decision Marks said he discussed Wednesday with Irving and Kevin Durant “to get their thoughts.”
“Without a doubt I’m not going to deprive myself of it, without a doubt the organization is disappointed to not have any of our players, in this particular case Kyrie, not among us, not in the trenches with us and therefore to sequel. And so I don’t want to speculate and say why he came out and so on. I’ve had conversations with him and will continue to have conversations and I can’t wait for him to be back in the gym and he will talk about it and we will sit down with him.
“He is part of our family and we will continue to build with the group that is here.”
When asked if it was normal for Irving to run out of time, Marks replied, “If it’s [for] well documented [reasons]we have to argue whether it’s our players or our staff, and you would in any industry, but you also hope there’s a more than enough excuse for why he needs personal time and he will undoubtedly answer it.”
Marks said he’s unsure if Irving will need to be quarantined per NBA protocols once he’s ready to return.
“Kyrie has been following his health and safety protocols and testing daily, so since he’s been doing this, it’s out of my hands,” Marks said. “The league is reviewing. We can’t wait to talk to Kyrie when he’s back in our building among his teammates, among his Nets family, and onwards.
Marks said he spoke with Irving and Durant on Wednesday before making the deal for Harden, which cost the team four draft picks, four pick trades and Jarrett Allen, Caris LeVert, Taurean Prince and Rody Kurucs.
Marks said the Harden deal had nothing to do with concerns about whether or not Irving would return.
“They’re completely separate from each other,” Marks said. “Kyrie’s absence and the personal issues he is facing have nothing to do with us pursuing James.”
Marks said all three players are aware that they will have to make sacrifices under the “Big Three” concept for the team to achieve its ultimate goal of winning an NBA title within the next two years. All three are under contract until next season and have player options for 2022-23.
“I never had to talk to any of them about it,” he said of sharing the basketball. “I want to win, that’s all I heard from James, I want to win.”
Marks said “the goal is to be the last team standing.”
As for Harden, Marks said he expects him to arrive in Brooklyn on Thursday and the team hopes he can play “as soon as possible.”
The Nets host Magic Saturday and the Bucks on Monday.
“We hope James can play as soon as all the players have passed their physicals,” Marks said.
The Nets gave away a ton of future assets for Harden, 31, an eight-time All-Star and 2018 league MVP, but Marks said “the time has come for us and whenever you have the opportunity to Acquiring a player of this caliber is something you have to do.
As for the upcoming roster, he said it was still a work in progress.
“We’re not bankrupt right now,” he said. “There are still many ways to build. … We will continue to build with or without the choices we may or may not have right now, and we will be resilient through it all… But we also need to capitalize on the window and what is just ahead of us right now.