NBA

Nets rule out Kyrie return vs. Lakers on Sun.

    Nick Friedell is the Chicago Bulls beat reporter for ESPN Chicago. Friedell is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and joined ESPNChicago.com for its launch in April 2009.

LOS ANGELES — Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving will not play in the Sunday game against the Los Angeles Lakers, coach Jacque Vaughn said Saturday, and it remains unclear when he will return to the floor as he continues to serve a team-imposed suspension.

Irving was suspended for a minimum of five games for “harmful impact of his conduct” relating to social media posts around a book and movie centering on antisemitic ideas. The fifth game of that suspension will be served Saturday vs. the LA Clippers.

“I do know [Irving’s] not available [Sunday],” Vaughn said before the Saturday game. “I have been told that. I can give you that.”

Sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Friday that there is no momentum for a possible return to play for Irving during this four-game Western Conference trip that ends Thursday at Portland. The Nets return home vs. Memphis on Nov. 20.

Irving, whose suspension began Nov. 3, has been in contact with some teammates, but players and coaches remain unsure when he will return.

Irving continues to follow the steps the organization outlined as part of his return to the team. Those steps included meeting with Jewish leaders in the Brooklyn community and going through anti-hate counseling.

He met with NBA commissioner Adam Silver this week as well as Nets owner Joe Tsai, who tweeted Friday that he and his wife Clara met with Irving on Thursday and noted that “it’s clear to me that Kyrie does not have any beliefs of hate towards Jewish people or any group.”

While players expressed optimism after practice Friday that Irving might return soon, Vaughn made it clear that any timetable is still unclear.

“Joe put out that statement [Friday],” Vaughn said. “It kind of shows where the collaboration and alignment is right now. I have no update on a timetable at all.”

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