Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) lowers his mask to talk...

Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) lowers his mask to talk to a teammate during practice at Brooklyn Bridge Park on Saturday, Oct 9, 2021. Credit: Brad Penner

Reports in recent days have been swirling that Kyrie Irving is either planning to return to the Nets soon or is going to be traded soon or something about Irving’s status is going to change soon.

Irving himself fanned the flames on Tuesday with an Instagram post that showed him lacing up his sneakers.

But the only way Irving can play for the Nets is if something changes with New York City’s rule that he can’t play in Brooklyn if he’s not vaccinated against COVID-19, or if the Nets change their stance that he can’t play only in road games, or if Irving changes his stance and gets vaccinated.

The first report came on Monday in The Athletic and said there was "renewed belief" about a possible return this season for Irving. The report cited an uptick in conversations between Irving and Nets star Kevin Durant about what Irving’s return to the court would entail.

Durant, after the Nets' 131-129 overtime victory, said: "Kyrie's my brother. (We) talk about everything. I'd rather keep those conversations in-house, though."

Nets coach Steve Nash, asked before Tuesday night’s win against the Raptors if he had had any recent conversations with Irving that caused him to have any insight about the player’s return to the court, said: "I haven't, and I have no updates. I have connected with him, but totally outside of the scope of the question and just [about] life in general. We connected last week, but not with any intel or insight that things are changing. I know he's working out and I know he'd love to be playing, but I think the boundaries are still the same as they were before recent reports."

On Tuesday, SNY reported that the Dallas Mavericks had reached out to the Nets to see if a trade centering around Irving and Kristaps Porzingis would interest Brooklyn.

But Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was quoted later Tuesday as denying that report.

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