Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn spoke with reporters before Saturday’s game against the Wizards, his first time meeting with the media since Kyrie Irving requested to be traded before next week’s deadline.
Irving then suddenly appeared on the injury report with calf soreness, and won’t play on Saturday night. Vaughn told reporters that Irving reported the calf soreness, was not at Saturday’s walkaround, and did not know if he would be at the game, supporting the Nets from the bench.
With Irving’s absence amid trade request rumors, Vaughn was asked if he felt Irving was letting the team down.
“I’m not gonna speculate on what they think,” Vaughn said. “I think you have a responsibility as a basketball player, like I do as a coach. I show up, I do my job every single day. That's what I signed up for, and that's my expectation for 1 through 17.”
Irving of course is not holding up his end, and his time with Brooklyn appears at an end after multiple other occasions in which the same was assumed in recent years. But now, after the two sides couldn’t agree on a new contract, Irving wants out for good, reportedly telling the team he wouldn’t even re-sign at this point for a max contract.
But Vaughn didn’t have any of those discussions with Irving. He didn’t go into details as to what the two discussed, but said he didn’t ask about the trade request.
“I didn’t ask those questions,” Vaughn said. “There's a business side to this thing and there's a human side to this thing. I elected to touch on the human side and check on him as an individual. I'll leave the business side to Sean and that group.”
As for what he said to the rest of the team, Vaughn preached keeping focus on the games ahead, and winning with who they have on the floor. Though with Irving not suiting up, Ben Simmons continuing to sit with knee soreness, and Kevin Durant still working his way back from injury, the team that will carry on looks nothing like the group that the Nets hoped would compete for a championship.
“I said to them, ‘We're not gonna make this weird,’” Vaughn said, via Brian Lewis of the New York Post. “We're here to play, we're here to do a job, show up and do your job. I said you've done the first step of this thing...let's do the work to get a win tonight.”
Follow Ryan Chichester on Twitter: @ryanchichester1
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