Appearing on Wednesday on ESPN’s First Take (video link), Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie said he can’t really address the possibility of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving potentially returning from injuries this summer, since that decision will ultimately be made by others, including team doctors. However, he acknowledged that Brooklyn’s outlook for the 2020 postseason would change significantly with those two stars in the lineup.
“If they are able to return and that’s the decision they make, our aspirations turn from playoffs to championship,” Dinwiddie said, per Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. “If they’re not able to return, which they’ve pretty much said that’s kind of the stance that they’re taking, we still want to be a team that grinds to get to the playoffs and makes a run in the playoffs.”
Unlike Irving, whose season was cut short by a shoulder issue, Durant has yet to make his debut with the Nets. While a torn Achilles tendon is a potentially devastating injury for NBA players, Dinwiddie is confident that KD will still look like a star when he returns to the court.
“I look at it like this: At 80 percent, he’s Dirk Nowitzki,” Dinwiddie said of Durant, according to Bondy. “At 100 percent, he’s the best scorer of all time, and anywhere in between, he’s still, what, a top-three small forward in the league.”
Here’s more from around the Atlantic:
- The Knicks don’t plan to formally launch their head coaching search until they find out whether or not their season is over, sources tell Marc Berman of The New York Post. We heard on Wednesday that Tom Thibodeau and Kenny Atkinson are expected to be among the club’s candidates in that search.
- Chris Boucher and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, who have played key minutes in the Raptors‘ frontcourt this season, will both be free agents at season’s end. Bearing that in mind, Eric Koreen of The Athletic examines each player’s appeal, arguing that it wouldn’t be an easy decision if the team can only retain one. Hollis-Jefferson is the more versatile player, but Boucher is a better rim protector and will be a restricted free agent.
- Looking at the Sixers‘ future with Rich Hofmann of The Athletic, John Hollinger suggests the team has painted itself into a bit of a corner with its big-money commitments to some secondary players and will need to get creative to upgrade its roster going forward.