The Nets started this N.B.A. season ushering in a new era — and whereas this 12 months was at all times anticipated to be a transition interval, the franchise hoped to at the least construct the basis of a possible dynasty.
Eight months later, little has gone in line with plan.
With a couple of month to go earlier than the N.B.A. is predicted to restart its season at Walt Disney World, the Nets have little greater than a skeleton crew to ship to play in Florida. Because of accidents, coronavirus infections or considerations over the outbreak, a number of of the staff’s high gamers have been dominated out of the restart, elevating questions on how aggressive the staff will be when the league returns.
The staff declined to touch upon Tuesday as as to if it will rethink its plans to take part in the restart. General Manager Sean Marks and the Nets’ interim coach, Jacque Vaughn, are scheduled to talk to reporters on Wednesday.
On Monday night time, middle DeAndre Jordan posted on Twitter that he had examined optimistic for the coronavirus and wouldn’t play in Florida, and guard Spencer Dinwiddie told The Athletic that he had additionally examined optimistic for the virus — although Dinwiddie stated it was “unclear” whether or not he would be capable to go to Disney World. Wilson Chandler, a reserve ahead, informed the staff he was opting to skip the remainder of the season due to virus considerations.
Without Chandler, Jordan and Dinwiddie, who helped present a spark after the Nets misplaced Kyrie Irving to a shoulder harm, the membership shall be left with a roster that features gifted however growing gamers like Caris LeVert, Jarrett Allen and Joe Harris, and a handful of minimally established gamers.
Irving and Kevin Durant, the Nets’ two marquee free-agent signings from final summer season, aren’t anticipated to play, both. In February, the Nets introduced that Irving would miss the remainder of the season due to an ailing proper shoulder that needed surgery. Durant, who tore his Achilles’ tendon simply over a 12 months in the past, informed The Undefeated in June that his comeback would wait until next season.
Nicolas Claxton, a rookie energy ahead who performed sparingly, is not going to be in Florida, both, after present process arthroscopic labrum restore surgical procedure, the Nets introduced final week. And, lastly, the staff introduced final week that it had waived the reserve guard Theo Pinson.
The staff has moved swiftly to fill a few of the holes in the roster, together with including guard Tyler Johnson, who gave the Miami Heat some scoring punch off the bench in his first 4 seasons however struggled to suit with the Suns since being traded to Phoenix.
The Nets additionally re-signed Justin Anderson, one other reserve ahead, who had a 10-day contract with the staff in January. The staff has till 11:59 p.m. Tuesday to signal any extra substitute gamers, but it surely at present has a full roster, together with gamers with two-way contracts whom the staff was not anticipating to need to depend on this late in the season.
Even earlier than the pandemic upended the N.B.A. in mid-March, the Nets’ season was a tumultuous one. On opening night time, Irving dazzled by scoring 50 factors in an extra time loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
But after the staff stumbled to a 4-7 begin, the harm bug hit: Irving’s shoulder brought on him to overlook 26 video games, after which after a short-lived return, he was dominated out for the season. LeVert, the 25-year-old guard regarded as a foundational piece of the Nets’ future, missed a number of weeks due to a proper thumb harm. And when he performed, he didn’t present the development that many anticipated from him.
There was Irving-related drama as properly. After a January loss to the Sixers, Irving informed reporters that the expertise deficiency on the roster was “glaring” and that the staff wanted extra items.
The most stunning story of the season got here in March, when Coach Kenny Atkinson and the staff “mutually agreed to part ways” and Vaughn was named interim coach.
Atkinson had been in his fourth 12 months as the Nets’ coach and had a powerful repute round the league for getting the most out of gamers on his staff. In the first three years of his teaching tenure, the Nets’ win whole rose every season.
Four days after Atkinson stepped down, the N.B.A. season was postponed. The Nets final played on March 10 in opposition to the Los Angeles Lakers: Chandler, Jordan and Dinwiddie all began that recreation.
Marc Stein contributed reporting.