The news of Kyrie Irving's return has sparked several reactions from fans. Many are thrilled to see one of the NBA's best ball-handler back on the floor, while others are disgusted with the idea that he will be playing on a part-time basis.
Sports analyst Stephen A. Smith has not hidden his disapproval of the decision. He called it "shameful," saying that the Brooklyn Nets should have never considered that.
Meanwhile, Nets owner Joe Tsai has expressed his stance on the subject, stating that it was not political or him supporting Irving's stance. His position was that he wants to win and believes Kyrie would help the team achieve that.
Even so, Kyrie's return has been delayed, as he immediately entered the league's health and safety protocols upon return. Given his situation, it is unclear when he will feature for the Nets following their home-game schedule, when he leaves the safety protocols, and when he is fit enough to hoop. The All-Star guard has not played since the start of the season, so he might need some time to get his conditioning right.
The Athletic's Shams Charania joined the Pat McAfee Show to discuss Kyrie's situation, and he gave an insight into the events and a likely return date for the NBA champ.
"The only place Kyrie Irving can't play if he stays unvaccinated is New York City."
"I'd look at him possibly returning January 5th in Indianapolis or January 12th in Chicago."
Shams also pointed out that new cities are starting to implement covid-19 mandates, but they are not going to stop him from playing. He cited the Boston mandate, which will start at the beginning of 2022, as an example, saying that their mandate allows athletes to compete regardless of their vaccination status.
Watching Kyrie play will be a breath of fresh air for the Nets, who have watched Kevin Durant log in huge minutes without much help from James Harden. With Kyrie on the team, the Nets are favorites to advance from the East and perhaps win the 2022 championship.