Atlantic Notes: Durant, Robinson, Ibaka, Toppin

Nets coach Steve Nash contends that the schedule for All-Star forward Kevin Durant‘s return from his COVID-19 protocol-necessitated quarantining is a “moving target,” according to Brian Lewis of the New York Post. On Tuesday, Durant commenced his quarantine, per NBA health and safety protocols, after being exposed to someone who tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The belief was that the quarantine would last seven days.

“My understanding is that it is a quarantine, so I don’t think there will be any on-court activity,” Nash said. “There’s negative tests, days from the contact tracing and all sorts of factors that go into it. So, I don’t really have an answer yet on how long.” The Nets crushed the Jazz 130-96 in their first test without Durant.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • Knicks center Mitchell Robinson has been improving his efforts to avoid foul calls, Greg Joyce of the New York Post reports. “It’s actually, like, nobody wants to get yelled at by the coaches, so I’ve been just trying to maintain that the best way that I can,” Robinson said. “I’ve been working on it.” The young big man is averaging 3.0 fouls per game in 29.6 MPG, a marked improvement over his 3.2 fouls in 23.1 MPG during the 2019/20 season.
  • Raptors president Masai Ujiri and general manager Bobby Webster apparently frustrated free agent center/power forward Serge Ibaka when the club offered him a number below what he was hoping for in an attempt to leave some cap space to re-sign starting center Marc Gasol, according to Michael Grange of Sportsnet. Toronto bumped its one-year offer from $12MM to $14MM, but Ibaka apparently also did not want to continue being a backup to Gasol. Both players wound up departing for cheaper deals with Los Angeles title contenders, and the 1-5 (as of this writing) Raptors appear to be missing the two-way skill set of their championship frontcourt tandem.
  • Following an evaluation yesterday, Knicks power forward Obi Toppin will begin running and jumping as he continues to rehabilitate from a right calf strain, according to Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic (Twitter link). After this, Toppin will subsequently move on to on-court workouts. The rookie hurt the calf in the club’s December 23 opening night bout against the Pacers. “He’s making good progress and we just have to be patient,” new head coach Tom Thibodeau said.
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11 thoughts on “Atlantic Notes: Durant, Robinson, Ibaka, Toppin

  1. wagner13

    Oof. The Raptors made a major error if they really lowballed Ibaka in hopes of keeping Gasol as well. I’m wondering if that was actually the reason they couldn’t retain Serge. I would imagine keeping Ibaka in favor of Gasol should be a priority. Boucher has played well, but Baynes has been unimpressive and Len hasn’t played much. Nick Nurse will need to rally the troops, as Toronto is off to a dubious start. Perhaps we overlooked just how much talent they’ve lost in recent seasons (Kawhi, Ibaka, Gasol, Green). It all adds up over time

    • buttholesurfer69

      Yup – they’ve lost Kawhi, Green, Gasol, and Ibaka and replaced them with …. Aron Baynes

      I think people just assumed this team would always overachieve after they were good post-Kawhi last season. And to be fair they could bounce back from a slow start.

      But even before the season I thought Toronto could be a bubble team. I just don’t think Lowry at 35, Van Vleet and Siakam + minimal depth reads like anything much more than a 7-8 seed.

  2. I just want to say that it feels really good to have a Knicks team that is competitive again. Hope Toppin makes it back soon. This could potentially be a playoff team, something I did not expect going into the season.

    • kingsforever 2

      Question

      Toppin is mabye a good NBA offense player. But he has injured and the Knicks winning games. Do you mean Toppin can this team help? I mean he is a power forward and Randle play over the top. I think Toppin have much potential but it’s a rookie and I think when he play lose this team more games

    • Curtisrowe

      I wouldn’t get too ahead of yourself with the whole Knicks being competitive thing. They do look good, but they could easily drop 6 in a row. Too soon to tell.

      • kingsforever 2

        Can Toppin a struggle team help to winning? His defense is bad and Randle play the most minutes to power forward.

  3. x%sure

    The Toronto article was too British-like and I didn’t even understand the comment section. Personally I don’t think anyone American can! That is an opinion that always draws objections, regarding Americans understanding British. But look at the trend of players leaving a well-run winning “side” for meager contracts.

    Ujiri is no help, dreaming of Giannis or some sort of bright day where having a Giannis would fix all problems, clearing capspace for 2021, a strategy which will likely fail.

    Baynes was already declining and Len just did basics when offered… they could not have been objectives. I’m not an Ibaka fan but the claim is he turned down a 1/$12 which made him look elsewhere, than a 1/$14, but took a 2/$19 from the Clips. Gasol took a vet-minimal salary 1/$2.6 late for Lakers like he was mad at the Raps.

    Nurse sounded mad when rejecting Ujiri solutions at 2G; the quote is in the link; he called them tiny.

  4. KnickerbockerAl

    Lowry to Sixers ….. Harris had his best yrs under Doc in LA. Forget Har en bring Lowry home.
    Toppin can take his time. Randle is just in a zone right now. Randle just might have finally got it. Knicks D is the difference Mitch n Thibs. A real coach can always make a difference with a young team. I just want to build a good young core. So that we can sign a FA next yr. Now if Thibs can turn Nttilikina and Smith for a solid trade. He will be the miracle man.

    • DynamiteAdams

      I mean as long as the Sixers don’t give up much. Harris is about equal to Lowry in my opinion as far as helping this team goes. The trade would clear up cap for the sixers but it shortens the sf/pf depth. Id try and keep Harris if I’m getting Lowry but again idk what the raps want

      • KnickerbockerAl

        I didn’t mean to trade Harris. My bad. He’s playing under Doc. Lowry is on his last yr and will be 35 in March. Toronto owes him and should let him go where he wants. Going home to end a career is a great move for any player. He adds to their depth and can start this yr with Ben. I know the contracts are difficult to match. Just a Lowry guy.

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