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Report: Kyrie Irving has started process to return to Nets [UPDATE]

Brooklyn PG has ramped up training and is beginning the COVID-19 testing process to rejoin the team.

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Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets attends the Wagner Seahawks and the Seton Hall Pirates game at Prudential Center on December 1, 2021 in Newark, New Jersey. Seton Hall defeated Wagner 85-63. Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Update, Dec. 17 — Irving has started the process of rejoining the Nets, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported on Friday. Irving will start the COVID-19 testing process while ramping up training and his season debut is TBD at this point.

Another report from Woj says that Irving will not be vaccinated under NYC’s mandate, so he’s eligible to play in games outside of New York with the team.

There is renewed optimism within the Brooklyn Nets organization that PG Kyrie Irving will rejoin the team at some point this season, The Athletic’s Shams Charania. Irving has not played this season while unvaccinated from Covid-19 due to New York City’s vaccination mandate. As a result of not cooperating, the Nets have held Irving out of all basketball activities.

So either the Nets will cave, Irving will cave and get vaccinated or NYC is planning to change the mandate. Chances are it’s the Nets caving. New York just mandated masks indoors again with cases going up in the winter. It doesn’t seem like the city will budge for Irving. Kyrie has remained stoic while sitting out and has only posted cryptic messages on his Instagram and social media.

On Dec. 27, the city is instituting a new mandate that requires you to be fully vaccinated, not just one dose. So if there was a chance Irving would proceed with one dose, that clock is ticking.

We’ll have to wait and see on this report. It could have a big impact on the NBA futures betting market in the short and long term. If this report picks up some steam and there are rumblings Irving will return, it makes the Nets somewhat more appealing at +240 to win it all this season. Brooklyn is also +130 to come out of the Eastern Conference. The Golden State Warriors are behind the Nets at 6/1 to win the championship.