Nets GM discusses Kyrie's future: We 'need availability from everybody'

Nathaniel S. Butler / National Basketball Association / Getty

Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks believes his team needs star guard Kyrie Irving's full participation on the court to reach its lofty championship goals.

"We need people here that want to be here, they're selfless, that want to be part of something bigger than themselves," Marks said Wednesday, according to ESPN's Nick Friedell. "And there's an objective and there's a goal at stake here. And in order to do that, we're going to need availability from everybody."

Irving played in only 29 regular-season games for Brooklyn this past season due to New York City's COVID-19 vaccination rules. The 30-year-old has a $36-million player option for next season and is eligible for an extension.

Marks defended his decision to bring the enigmatic guard back midseason in December, saying he had no regrets about reintegrating a player of Irving's caliber.

Irving wasn't the only player to miss substantial time for the Nets. Kevin Durant appeared in 55 games due to an MCL injury, while sharpshooter Joe Harris missed most of the season with an ankle injury.

Ben Simmons - the centerpiece of the Nets' return in the deal sending James Harden to the Philadelphia 76ers - didn't appear in a single contest for Brooklyn despite being ruled active in the team's final first-round playoff game against the Boston Celtics.

Marks is looking forward to Simmons' return in 2022-23; the 25-year-old forward is expected to be healthy for training camp following offseason back surgery.

"He needs to be in here, smell the gym again, around his friends, around his family, and participate in this and let us help him build the culture together," Marks said.

Asked about building around Simmons and Irving, Marks noted the Nets have to factor in the commitment level of max-contract players.

"Do they want to be part of this? Are they motivated by something that's not good for the whole team here?" he said. "Those are questions we're going to have to ask ourselves and also ask the players that we want to bring back."

Nets GM discusses Kyrie's future: We 'need availability from everybody'
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