It won’t be up to just one Net to shoulder the void left by Kyrie Irving.
Author: Greg Joyce
Published: 2021-10-13 09:20 pm
Nets’ Steve Nash to be ‘fluid’ with lineups in Kyrie Irving’s absence

It won’t be up to just one Net to shoulder the void left by Kyrie Irving.

Steve Nash said he expects to stay flexible with regard to how he will replace Irving in the Nets lineup, a day after the team said it would not accommodate the point guard as a part-time player because of his refusal to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

“I think like last year, we will be adaptive and be able to go in different directions,” Nash said Wednesday after practice. “I haven’t made any firm decisions. I also don’t know [that] there will be any firm decisions. I think it’s something that’s kind of fluid for us unless something emerges that makes the most sense.

“But right now, we look at our depth, and we need to continue to produce from all those different options and find the combinations that work for us and find the combinations that work for different matchups.”

Steve Nash
Corey Sipkin

Bruce Brown and veteran Patty Mills figure to see a bump in playing time without Irving available. Brown stepped into the starting lineup last season for stretches when Irving was injured or away from the team, including for two of the three playoff games against the Bucks that Irving missed with an ankle injury.

“Yeah, I’ll try,” Brown said when asked about stepping in for Irving. “Ky does a lot for us. So I mean, next man up. I try to do a little more if the team needs me to do that, but I guess I just play my role.”

Mills mostly came off the bench during his 10-year tenure with the Spurs and could offer a similar role in his first year with the Nets.

“I think collectively, as a group, everyone’s here for that reason, to be able to do their part for the betterment of the team,” Mills said. “Knowing this is going to be a collective group that has to fill the shoes and work together to be able to get this team rolling.”

Nash said he expects everyone (aside from Irving) to be available for Thursday’s preseason finale against the Timberwolves at Barclays Center.

The Nets have not had any contract extension talks with Irving and his camp for some time, a source close to Irving told The Post’s Brian Lewis. Irving, who could forfeit more than $17 million if he does not play this season, has a player option for 2022-23.

GM Sean Marks said in August he was confident that by the time training camp opened, extensions would be in place for the Nets’ Big 3. Instead, only Kevin Durant has signed a max extension. James Harden could wait until after the season to sign one, which would guarantee him an extra $62 million.

Durant entered the NFT (non-fungible token) space Wednesday as his Thirty Five Ventures firm announced a partnership with Dapper Labs, the company behind NBA Top Shot. Durant will have a role in curating and creating NBA Top Shot Moments — highlight clips that serve as digital trading cards.

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