The Nets are entering the 2019/20 campaign planning as if they won’t have Kevin Durant available for the entire season, general manager Sean Marks said today to reporters, including Ian Begley of SNY.tv and Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic (Twitter links).
“The expectation now is that he’ll be out for the year,” Marks said (video link). “We’re not going to plan on him playing.”
A weekend report suggested that there’s a feeling around the NBA that Durant’s torn Achilles might not keep him out of action for all of the 2019/20 season. While it may be true that such a sentiment exists around the NBA, it’s apparently not a sentiment shared by the Nets, who are thinking long-term when it comes to KD’s health.
Still, Marks didn’t entirely close the door on Durant beating his timeline. Brooklyn’s GM told reporters that the two-time Finals MVP, who is attacking his rehab aggressively and is making good progress, will have a large say in when he returns (Twitter link via Begley). If the Nets make the playoffs and Durant is pushing to get back on the court, the team would have a tough decision to make.
Even if Durant and the Nets both ultimately agree that he won’t return until the 2020/21 season, the club won’t be able to apply for a disabled player exception to gain extra cap flexibility. The Achilles tear occurred before the star forward signed with Brooklyn and the Nets obviously knew about it when they signed him, making them ineligible for a DPE.