The Nets started this N.B.A. season ushering in a brand new period — and whereas this 12 months was at all times anticipated to be a transition interval, the franchise hoped to not less than construct the muse of a possible dynasty.
Eight months later, little has gone in accordance with plan.
With a few month to go earlier than the N.B.A. is anticipated 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 crew’s high gamers have been dominated out of the restart, elevating questions on how aggressive the crew may be when the league returns.
The crew declined to touch upon Tuesday as as to whether it will rethink its plans to take part within 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, heart DeAndre Jordan posted on Twitter that he had examined optimistic for the coronavirus and wouldn’t play in Florida, and guard Spencer Dinwiddie informed 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 crew 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 will probably be left with a roster that features proficient 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, will not be 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 wanted surgical procedure. Durant, who tore his Achilles’ tendon simply over a 12 months in the past, informed The Undefeated in June that his comeback would wait till subsequent 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 crew introduced final week that it had waived the reserve guard Theo Pinson.
The crew has moved swiftly to fill a few of the holes within 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 crew in January. The crew has till 11:59 p.m. Tuesday to signal any extra alternative gamers, but it surely at present has a full roster, together with gamers with two-way contracts whom the crew was not anticipating to must depend on this late within 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 additional time loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
But after the crew stumbled to a 4-7 begin, the harm bug hit: Irving’s shoulder induced 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 expansion that many anticipated from him.
There was Irving-related drama as nicely. After a January loss to the Sixers, Irving informed reporters that the expertise deficiency on the roster was “glaring” and that the crew wanted extra items.
The most surprising story of the season got here in March, when Coach Kenny Atkinson and the crew “mutually agreed to part ways” and Vaughn was named interim coach.
Atkinson had been in his fourth 12 months because the Nets’ coach and had a powerful fame across the league for getting essentially the most out of gamers on his crew. In the primary three years of his teaching tenure, the Nets’ win complete rose every season.
Four days after Atkinson stepped down, the N.B.A. season was postponed. The Nets final performed on March 10 in opposition to the Los Angeles Lakers: Chandler, Jordan and Dinwiddie all began that recreation.
Marc Stein contributed reporting.