The Nets started this N.B.A. season ushering in a new era — and whereas this yr was all the time anticipated to be a transition interval, the franchise hoped to not less than construct the basis of a possible dynasty.
Eight months later, little has gone in keeping 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 issues over the outbreak, a number of of the group’s high gamers have been dominated out of the restart, elevating questions on how aggressive the group may be when the league returns.
The group declined to touch upon Tuesday as as to if it might 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 constructive for the coronavirus and wouldn’t play in Florida, and guard Spencer Dinwiddie told The Athletic that he had additionally examined constructive for the virus — although Dinwiddie stated it was “unclear” whether or not he would have the ability to go to Disney World. Wilson Chandler, a reserve ahead, informed the group he was opting to skip the remainder of the season due to virus issues.
Without Chandler, Jordan and Dinwiddie, who helped present a spark after the Nets misplaced Kyrie Irving to a shoulder harm, the membership can 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 time, 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 yr 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, won’t be in Florida, both, after present process arthroscopic labrum restore surgical procedure, the Nets introduced final week. And, lastly, the group introduced final week that it had waived the reserve guard Theo Pinson.
The group 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 group in January. The group has till 11:59 p.m. Tuesday to signal any extra substitute gamers, however it at present has a full roster, together with gamers with two-way contracts whom the group 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 additional time loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
But after the group 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 considered 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 group wanted extra items.
The most surprising story of the season got here in March, when Coach Kenny Atkinson and the group “mutually agreed to part ways” and Vaughn was named interim coach.
Atkinson had been in his fourth yr as the Nets’ coach and had a powerful fame round the league for getting the most out of gamers on his group. In the first three years of his teaching tenure, the Nets’ win complete rose every season.
Marc Stein contributed reporting.