LOS ANGELES — With the Nets returning home after Sunday’s preseason opening win at the Lakers, they resume practice Tuesday at HSS Training Center.
They claim they have no idea whether Kyrie Irving will be practicing with them.
“I don’t have an update on that,” head coach Steve Nash said. “So I really don’t know.”
Due to Irving’s refusal to comply with the New York City’s vaccine mandates, he’s not allowed to play at Barclays Center or even practice at HSS Training Center. He doesn’t have to be fully vaccinated but only requires a single shot.
To this point, that hasn’t happened yet, although multiple sources with knowledge of the situation felt he may eventually relent and listen to teammates and others whose counsel he keeps.
Still, with Irving facing a potential stretch of inactivity at home, Nash said he never seriously thought about giving him minutes Sunday versus the Lakers.
“Not really. I think that was never a consideration really,” said Nash, who felt the Nets got a lot accomplished with Irving during last week’s San Diego training camp, even if the All-Star misses practice time this week.
“I just think he was one of the many that were locked-in and performed well all week, were focused. To a man, everyone was really good this week. It was a positive week, but we’ve got two more weeks together before we start.”
Veteran Paul Millsap echoed that sentiment, saying Irving was a model professional during their weeklong California camp.
“Come and do his job. Just comes in and works,” Millsap said. “He’s a worker. He comes in and works every single day. And that’s just that.”
LaMarcus Aldridge played his first game since feeling an irregular heartbeat April 10 against these same Lakers and promptly retiring.
“He looked good. He had a good week of camp, and it looks like he’s moving well. Confident. Doesn’t look like he’s missed a beat,” Nash said.
“He’s the ultimate pro. Puts the work in and when he gets on the court, he does his job,” Millsap added. “He didn’t miss a week. He’s had a great week of practice.”
Millsap and Aldridge started together in a big to help slow Anthony Davis and former Nets center DeAndre Jordan.
Rookie center Day’Ron Sharpe had a solid outing with 13 points, six rebounds and two steals. He was an integral part of a 28-2 run to open the fourth quarter, his bucket capping it for a 112-83 cushion.
But Nic Claxton struggled badly. He fouled out after 13 minutes, with three points, 1 of 4 shooting and three turnovers.
“It’s hard when you get in foul trouble like that. He got three offensive fouls on screens in quick succession and that kind of ruined his night,” said Nash. “But that’s why we do this. Get out there and get our rhythm and your timing. He’ll be better next game and he’ll keep growing.”