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Kyrie Irving Explains His Absence From The Brooklyn Nets

Kyrie Irving dribbling for the Nets.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JANUARY 03: Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets calls a play during the second half against the Washington Wizards at Barclays Center on January 03, 2021 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The Wizards won 123-122. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

Kyrie Irving is back in Brooklyn and will be prepared to join the new look Nets as soon as Wednesday when the team travels to Cleveland to take on the Cavaliers.

The 28-year-old point guard became the center of a public saga over the last few weeks, as he left the team, citing "personal reasons." Irving later surfaced at a family member's birthday party, maskless and indoors. The visuals caused controversy as fans began to question if he remain committed to playing basketball. The league also fined the 28-year-old for violating safety protocols.

While Irving remained apart from the team, the Nets made one of the biggest midseason acquisitions ever seen in the league. Brooklyn traded four rostered players and a sizeable package of draft picks to acquire All-NBA Rockets guard James Harden. The blockbuster deal involved four teams and generated a seismic shift within each organization. The move also formed a new "Big Three" on the Nets, pending the return of Irving.

On Tuesday, the 28-year-old point guard spoke with the media for the first time since his return to Brooklyn. He gave mostly short answers when asked about his whereabouts over the last two weeks and chose not to elaborate. Irving said that "there's been a lot of family and personal stuff" going on, which led to his departure from Brooklyn. He followed up the answer by apologizing to fans for not playing in the Nets last few games.

"I am back, I am happy to be back, we got some great pieces and we move on and I let my actions and my game speak for itself like I planned on doing," Irving said

Kyrie Irving apologizes to fans he disappointed by not playing. "I am back, I am happy to be back, we got some great pieces and we move on and I let my actions and my game speak for itself like I planned on doing. I just needed a pause."

— Malika Andrews (@malika_andrews) January 19, 2021

">on Tuesday per ESPN's Malika Andrews. "I just needed a pause." The All Star caliber point guard also told reporters how he handled the situation with his teammates. For most of his absence, the rest of the Nets seemed out-of-the-know, so Irving prioritized explaining things to them before trying to move forward. "I have a conversation with each one of (my teammates) and we move," the 28-year-old said according to Andrews.

It's possible that most of the world will never know Irving's full reasons from leaving the team for the last few weeks. The Nets will rejoice over his return, but the relationship between player and organization may be forever altered.

In the immediate, Brooklyn will try to develop chemistry between their three ball-dominant stars. Irving, Harden and Kevin Durant appear to be the best team in the Eastern Conference on paper, but will have to learn how to co-exist when on the court. With plenty of time left in the regular season, the Nets could easily turn themselves into a top-three title contender.

According to first-year head coach Steve Nash, Irving's return is expected to play on Wednesday against the Cavaliers. Brooklyn and Cleveland will tip-off at 7 p.m. ET on local broadcast affiliates.