Kevin Durant on Kyrie Irving vax stance: 'We are not going to change his mind'

Kevin Durant remains focused amid all the drama around Kyrie Irving

Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant is trying to stay even-keeled when it comes to Kyrie Irving’s absence at the start of the season over his stance on getting the coronavirus vaccine.

Durant was asked about Irving after the team’s preseason win over the Minnesota Timberwolves. He said being mad at his fellow teammate wasn’t going to help the situation.

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Brooklyn Nets' Kevin Durant (7) gets into position during the second half of a preseason NBA basketball game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021, in New York.

Brooklyn Nets' Kevin Durant (7) gets into position during the second half of a preseason NBA basketball game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

"What is being mad going to do? We are not going to change his mind, know what I’m saying? We’ll let him figure out what he needs to do and the team figure out what they need to do. And us as players, when we are in that locker room, on that floor, we are going to work with each other. So life is amazing. I can’t be too mad at somebody making a decision for themselves," Durant said, via SNY.

Durant said when Irving is ready he will likely talk to the Brooklyn front office about the return.

"This is not the ideal situation coming into the season. But some of this, it’s out of our control," he added. "So what we can do is come in and focus on our jobs every single day."

Minnesota Timberwolves' Taurean Prince, right, defends against Brooklyn Nets' Kevin Durant during the first half of a preseason NBA basketball game Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021, in New York.

Minnesota Timberwolves' Taurean Prince, right, defends against Brooklyn Nets' Kevin Durant during the first half of a preseason NBA basketball game Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Irving broke his silence on his stance Wednesday night in an Instagram Live conversation.

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"I am doing what’s best for me. I know the consequences here, and if it means that I’m judged and demonized for that, that’s just what it is. That’s the role I play, but I never wanted to give up my passion, my love, my dream just over this mandate," he said.

Irving, who stands to lose half of his $35 million salary for skipping games over the vaccine rules, said his stand wasn’t about money.

"So what? It’s not about the money. It's not always about the money. It’s about choosing what’s best for you. You think I really want to lose money?"

The point guard said he supported people who were and weren’t vaccinated and made no indication he was against being vaccinated. He made clear he just wasn’t getting the jab.

Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets shoots the ball during the game against the Detroit Pistons on March 13, 2021 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets shoots the ball during the game against the Detroit Pistons on March 13, 2021 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. (Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)

"Once again, I’m going to repeat this. This is not about the Nets, this is not about the organization, it’s not about the NBA, it’s not politics. It’s not any one thing. It’s just about the freedom of what I want to do," he said.

The Nets drew a red line on Irving’s availability for the 2021-22 season. On Tuesday, general manager Sean Marks said Irving isn’t going to be a part-time player.

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Irving isn’t eligible to play in home games, where a New York mandate requires professional athletes on the city’s teams to be vaccinated to practice or play in public venues.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.