Atlantic Notes: Durant, Irving, Harris, Thompson

For the first time since signing Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in July of 2019, the Nets will have the All-Star duo together on the court today, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Durant has fully recovered from a ruptured Achilles tendon he suffered during the 2019 NBA Finals, while Irving is ready to go after last season’s shoulder surgery.

“We had 11 and 7 (Irving and Durant) sitting out for a lot of these games last year, and finally to have them back we’re ready to do big things with them, and we’re all excited,” Jarrett Allen said. “Two All-Stars, two most likely going to be Hall of Famers and watching them growing up, playing against them, playing with them and finally going to be on an actual NBA court it’s going to be an experience. I never thought I’d be in this position, but I’m ready to take advantage of it and soak it all in.”

Today will also mark the head coaching debut of Steve Nash, who was a surprise hire to run the team. He plans to take advantage of Durant’s versatility, which may include some time at point guard.

“Kevin will offensively play all five positions,” Nash said. “I don’t know that we’ll see a ton of time with him at the 1, but he’s definitely a ballhandler, playmaker and can thrive in pick-and-roll situations. So he’ll play the 1 at times. We’re trending toward positionless basketball.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Nash hasn’t talked to Irving about his refusal to speak with the media, Lewis adds in a separate story. The league fined Irving and the Nets $25K each this week for failing to comply with media access rules. “He’s been unbelievable in camp,” Nash told reporters. “He’s been playing at an extremely high level. He’s been a leader. So, while he may not be in your guys’ good books right now, he’s in my good book.”
  • Tobias Harris is poised for a bounce-back season as he reunites with Sixers coach Doc Rivers, who also coached Harris with the Clippers, notes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. The trade of Al Horford will allow Harris to spend more time at power forward, which is his natural position. “We have changed our system since I was in L.A. with Tobias, but clearly, I know what works for him,” Rivers said. “It doesn’t really matter the system, it matters the way Tobias plays.”
  • Tristan Thompson joined the Celtics as a free agent during the offseason, but he heard rumors in the past that he might be traded there, he says in an interview tweeted by Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston.
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