The Brooklyn Nets will have Kevin Durant and LaMarcus Aldridge available to play in their next game and Kyrie Irving will be available soon, too. The team announced Tuesday that all three players have cleared the NBA’s Health and Safety Protocols.
Durant and Aldridge would be able to play on Thursday night, when the Nets host the Philadelphia 76ers. Irving remains ineligible to play at home because he hasn’t met New York City’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for athletes playing in the city’s public venues. Brooklyn’s next road game is not until Jan. 5 when it travels to play the Indiana Pacers (7:30 ET, NBA League Pass).
The Nets determined before the season that Irving wouldn’t be a part-time player and wouldn’t be with the team unless he could play in all their games. But concerned with the heavy burden Durant has faced — his 37 minutes per game are second in the league — and needing to add a body while they keep losing them, they said the point guard would be back.
Over the past week, James Harden, DeAndre’ Bembry, Bruce Brown, Jevon Carter, Paul Millsap, James Johnson and rookie Day’Ron Sharpe all are listed as out because of the protocols along with Aldridge, Irving and Durant. Harden returned to the Nets’ lineup on Christmas Day after missing games from Dec. 12-18.
Since having their run of players in the Health and Safety Protocols, the Nets have done like several other teams during this time as the NBA has allowed teams unlimited hardship contract slots to help fill out rosters. The Nets signed Shaquille Harrison, James Ennis III and Wenyen Gabriel to 10-day contracts since Dec. 18. Guard Langston Galloway has received two 10-day deals in that span, too, with the most recent one coming on Dec. 27.
This season, Durant is averaging 29.7 points, 7.9 rebounds and 5.9 assists for the Nets, who are 20-7 with him in the lineup. Aldridge has been superb off the bench for the Nets this season, averaging 14.0 ppg, 5.7 rpg and 1.2 bpg in 23.6 minutes per game in 25 appearances. Last season, Irving averaged 26.9 ppg, 3.8 rpg and 4.8 rpg while being named an All-Star.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.