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 muse of a possible dynasty.
Eight months later, little has gone in response to plan.
With a couple of 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. Due to accidents, coronavirus infections or considerations over the outbreak, a number of of the workforce’s prime gamers have been dominated out of the restart, elevating questions on how aggressive the workforce will be when the league returns.
The workforce declined to touch upon Tuesday as as to if it will rethink its plans to take part within the restart. Common Supervisor Sean Marks and the Nets’ interim coach, Jacque Vaughn, are scheduled to talk to reporters on Wednesday.
On Monday evening, heart 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 mentioned it was “unclear” whether or not he would be capable of go to Disney World. Wilson Chandler, a reserve ahead, instructed the workforce he was opting to skip the remainder of the season due to virus considerations.
With out 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 gifted however creating 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, usually are not 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, instructed The Undefeated in June that his comeback would wait until next season.
Nicolas Claxton, a rookie energy ahead who performed sparingly, won’t be in Florida, both, after present process arthroscopic labrum restore surgical procedure, the Nets introduced final week. And, lastly, the workforce introduced final week that it had waived the reserve guard Theo Pinson.
The workforce has moved swiftly to fill a number of the holes within the roster, together with including guard Tyler Johnson, who gave the Miami Warmth 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 workforce in January. The workforce has till 11:59 p.m. Tuesday to signal any extra alternative gamers, nevertheless it at present has a full roster, together with gamers with two-way contracts whom the workforce 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 evening, Irving dazzled by scoring 50 factors in an extra time loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
However after the workforce 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 instructed reporters that the expertise deficiency on the roster was “obvious” and that the workforce wanted extra items.
Probably the most stunning story of the season got here in March, when Coach Kenny Atkinson and the workforce “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 robust status across the league for getting essentially the most out of gamers on his workforce. Within the first three years of his teaching tenure, the Nets’ win complete rose every season.
4 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.