Nets’ Kyrie Irving to miss Saturday’s game, one day after trade request

Kyrie Irving will not play for the Brooklyn Nets against Washington

By BRIAN MAHONEY Associated Press

NEW YORK — Kyrie Irving will not play for the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday night, a day after he told the team he would like to be traded.

The Nets said Irving’s absence was due to right calf soreness, adding him to the injury report for their game against Washington. Irving had not been listed on the report Friday night or Saturday morning.

Brooklyn coach Jacques Vaughn said before the game that he was unsure if Irving would be at Barclays Center for the game. Vaughn did say Irving “was not at the walkthrough.”

Irving asked the Nets for a trade Friday, a person with knowledge of the details told The Associated Press. The All-Star has been frustrated that the Nets have thus far refused to give him an extension on his contact that expires after this season.

Vaughn said he spoke with Irving and the rest of the team Friday, prior to the star guard’s trade demand becoming public. However, the request was not a topic of conversation between the coach and his team.

“Our conversations were more than basketball,” said Vaughn. “Life, checking in on them. I never want to speculate how a player feels. Their feelings are their feelings. And I’ll always validate that. … So I won’t speculate.”

The Nets, still playing without Kevin Durant, who is sidelined because of a sprained knee ligament, have two more games after Saturday before Thursday afternoon’s trade deadline.

“I’m just going to be concerned about (the Wizards),” Vaughn said, when asked if he thought about the possibility of coaching a team without Irving after the deadline. “I’m not going to complicate this thing at all.”

Ben Simmons and T.J. Warren will each also miss their fourth straight game with left knee soreness and a left shin contusion, respectively. Simmons was downgraded after previously being listed as questionable. Warren was initially listed as doubtful, which changed to out about an hour before gametime.

“Just trying to get to a level — T.J. and Ben — where they’re comfortable getting back on the court and playing,” Vaughn said.

When asked directly by the AP if he had received a timetable when to expect Simmons to be able to play, Vaughn said, “I think we’re inching toward that way. It’s really day to day. He’ll get back on the court tomorrow. Hopefully he feels a comfort level and responds to the work tomorrow to get him close to playing these next two games.”


AP freelancer Denis P. Gorman contributed to this report.