Kyrie Irving’s legacy is on the line with the Nets now, plus will Novak Djokovic defend his Aussie Open title?

Happy Thursday, all! Fair warning: This might be the most drama-filled newsletter I’ve ever written.

Let’s get right to it.

Good morning to everyone but especially to…

THE BROOKLYN NETS AND THEIR NEWEST (PART-TIME) STARTING POINT GUARD

Welcome back, Kyrie Irving. The superstar point guard made his season debut Wednesday night, scoring 22 points as the Nets overcame a 19-point deficit to beat the Pacers 129-121 in Indiana.

Irving, Kevin Durant and James Harden combined for 79 points, and the Nets wasted little time returning to the offensive juggernaut we saw last year on the rare occurrences all three were available, writes our NBA expert Brad Botkin:

Botkin: “With Durant and Harden, you can manage as a defense. But with a third elite shooter/scorer, you can’t stay attached to them all. You have to make choices. Who do you stay with and who do you leave? There won’t be a good answer, and that’s when Brooklyn becomes undefendable.”

Of course, the reason the team hasn’t spent much time at full strength is Irving’s own doing. By remaining unvaccinated, Irving cannot play in home games and will only be available on the road. Given the headaches Irving has caused and the immense accommodations the Nets are making, Irving’s presence has to lead to wins now more than ever writes NBA columnist Bill Reiter:

Reiter: Either Irving makes the Nets the title contender they’re supposed to be, pushing them to another level and helping them make a truly deep run once we reach the playoffs. Or else he is what he’s been hinting at for years: Not worth all the trouble.” Honorable mentions:

And not such a good morning for…

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NOVAK DJOKOVIC

In a shocking turn of events, Novak Djokovic’s ability to play in the Australian Open is once again in danger…

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