“The focus is on what’s going on here,” Irving said when asked not to speak to reporters before. “And I wanted to make sure it was clear, no distractions, nothing to dispel anything, nothing to go back and forth. ”
Despite the league’s requirement that healthy players be made available to the press before or after practices and games, Irving had not spoken to reporters throughout training camp, but instead had issued a statement. This led to Irving and the Nets fined $ 25,000 last week. Irving responded to the fine on Instagram, saying, in part, “I pray that we use the ‘good money’ for marginalized communities in need, especially seeing where our world is right now … I’m not talking to Pawns. My attention is worth more. ”
Irving said Monday the comment was not directed at any specific person or at reporters as a group.
“It’s really about how I felt about the mistreatment of certain artists when we come to a certain platform where we make decisions in our lives to have complete control and ownership… We want to play in a secure and protected space, ”he said.
Although Irving did not attend any press conferences during training camp, his teammates and coaches have repeatedly said that he looks perfectly healthy. Irving underwent end-of-season shoulder surgery in February and did not join the Nets when the NBA restarted in Orlando, Fla.
Irving said that after the surgery he had to “rebuild himself.” On Sunday, he appeared to have no physical limitations and finished with 18 points and four assists in Brooklyn’s pre-season opener over the Wizards.
It was also the first Nets game in which Irving could play with Durant.
“It’s a different show, it was a different stage, and it’s a new start in terms of what we’re building,” Irving said. “And go ahead with the pieces that we have here. And that includes 7-11, so get to know us. ”
Training camp, Irving said, gave him a chance to get to know his new teammates and coaching staff, including new coach Steve Nash. During a podcast hosted by Durant in October, Irving said he hadn’t “really seen seeing [the Nets] like having a head coach. ”
On Monday, he changed that statement.
“Steve was amazing,” Irving said. “He sort of commands respect. I think I have to repeat my comments regarding the head coach a few months ago. But it’s just like, man, we have such a great synergy. re coach each other to be better, so I’m grateful. ”