When the Nets told Kyrie Irving he could get back on the court, he said he was so excited he could “barely sleep.”
But now that Irving is cleared to practice and finally reunite with Kevin Durant and James Harden, the Nets can sleep easy knowing their Big Three will soon play together for the first time since June.
Irving’s only eligible to play on a part-time basis due to New York COVID mandates, which do not allow unvaccinated players to feature at Barclays Center or Madison Square Garden, but he’s still a monumental midseason acquisition for a team that’s already the first seed in the East.
Restricted from home games — plus road games at MSG or Toronto — Irving will only be available to play in 21 regular-season contests. He’ll make $16 million this season, less than half his $35 million salary.
Brooklyn has made an immense investment in winning now: The Big Three account for 68.3% of the Nets’ payroll — a total of $120.3 million.
Even without Irving, Brooklyn was the favorite to win it all (+245*). His return only heightens those lofty expectations.