Kyrie Irving is back with the Nets, telling reporters that he "just needed a pause".
Kyrie Irving makes about $410,000 per game on his current salary, which is the main reason why Brooklyn Nets fans have been frustrated about his recent absence from the team. The point guard has missed the last seven games, seemingly attending birthday parties, business Zoom calls, and anything but basketball games. However, head coach Steve Nash told reporters that Irving was expected to be back with the team for Wednesday's game, officially teaming up with his new teammate James Harden.
Asked why he was away for so long, Kyrie was pretty indirect in his response. According to the Toronto Star, the baller said that he "just needed a pause".
Irving missed five games while he was away from the team, and two more while he trained on getting his conditioning back to tip-top shape. He did not give any specific reasons for his absence, folding his arms and resting his head during a Zoom presser on Tuesday. Irving admitted that he had a lot of family and personal stuff going on.
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He also told the press that, while he was away, he realized there were "so many assumptions" about him as a person. "There’s just so many assumptions about what’s going on, and so many people feel like they know me best. They have no idea who I am," he said.
The star was fined $50,000 for violating the league's health and safety protocol by partying without a mask, and he lost out on nearly $900,000 of his salary for missing two games during a mandated quarantine period. He says that he's happy to be back with the team.
During his hiatus, NBA analyst Stephen A. Smith suggested that Irving retires from basketball. Do you think he'll be back with the team for good?