Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets hinted that he returned to the court recently after surgery in March, but should he return to action if the season resumes?
With the addition of both Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant this past offseason, many believed that the Brooklyn Nets had begun a new era, but it would take one more year to take effect entirely. With Durant needing to recover from a ruptured Achilles, the tandem was not likely to share the court together until next season at the earliest.
Irving was soon set upon by injuries as well, as a reoccurring shoulder injury limited him to just 20 games this season. In those 20 games, the 28-year-old put up some career-best numbers, although in a small sample size. He averaged 27.4 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 6.4 assists as the floor general for this Brooklyn team, and even with him out, the team managed to stay afloat.
With Irving playing only 20 games, Brooklyn’s season hit the hiatus with a 30-34 record which placed them as the seven-seed in the Eastern Conference. The NBA has gained traction to return after being suspended in March, and with a targeted July return date, the Nets will likely be in the postseason once again.
Without Irving and Durant, this Brooklyn team has not shown any signs of being a genuine threat to any top seed all season, and the same could be said for the postseason if play were to resume. However, cryptic as always, Kyrie Irving recently hinted that he was back on the court after surgery to fix his shoulder impingement in March.
Many have speculated Irving hinted at a potential return this season, but if that is the case, he should save it for next year. The Brooklyn Nets already managed to put themselves in a position to make the postseason without Irving and Durant and should carry on to play the rest of the season in a similar without them.
Likely slated to face top-tier contenders such as the Milwaukee Bucks or Toronto Raptors in the first round of the postseason, the odds of an upset would not be in their favor. Probable to be a first-round exit this season, bringing Irving back for a shortened period does not make much sense given how his season played out in the first place.
Irving had the surgery when he did because it made sense to have the last three months of the season off plus the offseason in its entirety. Allowing him to come back in potentially mid-July is a high-risk move, and the team should pull the plug on any chance of it happening entirely.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on The Woj Podcast that, “Kevin Durant’s not coming back to the Nets this year. That’s not happening.” With Durant slated to remain sidelined for the rest of the year, the same would make sense for Irving because the team cannot legitimately contend for a championship when not at full strength.
It would make far more sense to let this superstar tandem of Irving and Durant recover from their injuries and prepare for a revitalized run next season. With recent news from New York Daily News’ Stefan Bondy stating that Brooklyn has recently “internally discussed avenues” to acquire Bradley Beal from the Washington Wizards, this team could be a challenger in the Eastern Conference next season.
A Big 3 of Irving, Durant, and Beal would even make the Brooklyn Nets title contenders. Potentially letting Kyrie playing this season only a few months removed from shoulder surgery would make little sense at all with such high hopes for next season, whether they pull off the blockbuster trade or not.
With the season resuming a genuine possibility, the Brooklyn Nets should not let Kyrie Irving set foot on the court in a real game no matter what, with so much on the line for next season. These extra few months could work wonders for Irving and Durant, who could potentially be the immediate favorites to come out of the Eastern Conference if they were both healthy next season.
Perhaps Irving was just getting some shots up at the gym or promoting his signature shoe in his cryptic post. However, of course, with a star of his magnitude, things would get blown out of proportion. Whether he intentionally hinted at a return or not, Kyrie Irving should not come back this season by any means with such a promising future ahead.