Suspended All-Star guard Kyrie Irving is nearing completion of the process required for a return to play and could rejoin the Brooklyn Nets as soon as Sunday’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies at Barclays Center, sources reported ESPN.
Irving will miss his eighth game in a row on Thursday night in Portland, but he is nearing the end of his suspension after nearly two weeks, sources said.
“Kyrie continues his journey of dialogue and education,” National Basketball Players Association executive director Tamika Tremaglio told ESPN Wednesday night. “He is grappling with the full weight of the impact of his voice and actions, especially in the Jewish community. Kyrie rejects anti-Semitism in any form, and he is committed to bettering himself and increasing his level of understanding. journey far into the future to ensure that his words and deeds match his pursuit of truth and knowledge.”
Tremaglio and the union have been working closely with Irving, the Nets and the NBA to help him write his own remedies to end the suspension, sources said. What may have started as a rigid list of requirements evolved into Irving taking responsibility for the process himself, which the Nets and League hoped would be the case, sources said.
Irving is serving a minimum five-game suspension without pay for his initial apology and condemning his social media link to a movie filled with anti-Semitic material.
Irving’s apology — posted to his Instagram account just hours after his suspension was announced on Nov. 4 — came in the wake of two press conferences and a public statement with the Nets that contained no apology or condemnation.
Irving has met with Nets owner Joe Tsai and Commissioner Adam Silver individually, and both have said publicly that they do not view Irving as anti-Semitic.
At the time of his suspension, the Nets issued a statement saying that “failure to disavow anti-Semitism when the opportunity to do so is apparent is deeply distressing, contrary to our organization’s values, and constitutes behavior detrimental to the team .”
In a memo to members of the NBPA on Friday, the union told NBA players that “Kyrie’s rights and the rights of all future players are protected at every turn,” adding that the union is “very forward-looking.” soon to a resolution of all matters satisfactory to all parties.”
The NBPA described the recent meetings as an “attempt to deepen understanding and open clear lines of communication between all parties.”
The Nets are 4-3 without Irving during his suspension, including a 153-121 loss to the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night. Brooklyn is 6-9 overall, 5.5 games behind Boston in first place in the Eastern Conference standings.
Irving, 30, has averaged 26.9 points, 5.1 rebounds and 5.1 assists this season.