Kevin Durant says the probable return of Kyrie Irving for the Brooklyn Nets' game against the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday will provide a "much-needed spark".
Irving will miss an eighth straight game because of a team-imposed suspension when the Nets take on the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday, in the final leg of their four-game road trip.
The seven-time All-Star guard was handed an indefinite team-imposed suspension without pay by the Nets, for at least five games, after he shared an allegedly anti-semitic film and book on social media last month.
The Nets, the NBA and the NBPA have worked together with Irving to remediate the situation, after Brooklyn initially laid out six prerequisites for the player. According to reports, a resolution is close, potentially in time for Sunday's game.
"It's exciting for everybody," Durant told reporters prior to Thursday's game. "I mean we miss 'Ky'. We miss his presence on the floor.
"I haven't talked to him since we've been on the road trip about it the last couple of days. But we're looking forward to his return to the team. Definitely gonna give us a much-needed spark."
The Nets, who are 6-9 overall, have gone 4-3 in Irving's absence, although they were blown out 153-121 by the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday, which was a franchise record for most points conceded.
Durant added that he was hopeful Irving's return would be soon but said he had not been briefed on where the process is at.
"I don't know the details about everything that's going on to be honest," Durant said. "I should know, I guess, because I'm part of the team.
"But I've been totally focused on the road trip. Once we get back home, I'm sure that stuff will figure itself out. Hopefully it's soon, that's all that I can say."
Clara and I met with Kyrie and his family yesterday. We spent quality time to understand each other and it’s clear to me that Kyrie does not have any beliefs of hate towards Jewish people or any group.— Joe Tsai (@joetsai1999) November 11, 2022
The Nets and Kyrie, together with the NBA and NBPA, are working constructively toward a process of forgiveness, healing and education.— Joe Tsai (@joetsai1999) November 11, 2022