DeAndre Jordan

Nets Notes: COVID-19, Coach, Kyrie, KD, More

Speaking today on a conference call with reporters, Nets general manager Sean Marks said that all the team’s players are now symptom-free of COVID-19, including the four that tested positive for the coronavirus last month, tweets ESPN’s Malika Andrews. The club’s entire traveling party has now completed its 14-day self-isolation period, but continues to practice social distancing.

Marks addressed a handful of other topics on that call, including the team’s search for a permanent head coach. According to Brooklyn’s GM, the club isn’t currently reaching out to potential candidates, since it “would completely not be fair to our group” (Twitter link via Andrews).

When asked if he’ll consult Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant on the head coaching decision, Marks said the Nets have always collaborated with players, but the decision will ultimately be made by the front office and ownership (Twitter link via Brian Lewis of The New York Post).

Finally, speaking of Irving and Durant, Marks was also asked about the possibility of those injured stars returning to action if the 2019/20 season resumes this summer. According to Andrews (Twitter link), the GM replied that it wouldn’t be fair to set a specific timeline for either player’s return. Marks also cautioned that social-distancing practices and the closure of training facilities may slow the rehab process for injured players, further clouding the recovery timetables for Kyrie and KD.

Here’s more on the Nets:

  • Brian Lewis of The New York Post takes a look at DeAndre Jordan‘s role with the Nets this season and going forward, noting that the veteran center was immediately elevated to the starting lineup following Kenny Atkinson‘s departure.
  • Atkinson’s exit is among the topics Lewis explores in a New York Post mailbag — he also answers questions related to the likelihood of a Jarrett Allen trade and how Nets players are staying in shape while self-isolating.
  • In yet another story for The New York Post, Lewis shares some details on how Nets and Barclays Center are still being paid during the NBA’s stoppage. One source tells Lewis that the pay checks cut for event staffers may end up totaling approximately $6MM.
  • In case you missed it, Durant is one of 16 NBA players participating in a players-only NBA 2K20 tournament starting on Friday.

Nets Notes: Atkinson, Durant, Irving, Jordan

In an in-depth story for The Athletic, Shams Charania and Alex Schiffer take a closer look at Kenny Atkinson‘s final days in Brooklyn, detailing how the Nets ultimately came to the decision to part ways with their head coach.

As Charania and Schiffer explain, a team meeting following last Wednesday’s blowout home loss to Memphis was an inciting event. During that “spirited” session, people in the room aired their grievances, with Spencer Dinwiddie and DeAndre Jordan among the players who were called out. Perhaps most importantly, Kevin Durant suggested that the Nets must improve certain habits and that they weren’t building the sort of culture traits that a legit title contender has.

According to The Athletic’s report, no directive from Kyrie Irving or Durant was ever given to replace Atkinson, but the Nets’ two new stars “never connected” with the incumbent head coach and there was a growing belief they weren’t interested in playing for him next season. A handful of other players were also believed to have started “disconnecting” with Atkinson, per Charania and Schiffer.

In Wednesday’s meeting, players didn’t hold back on critiquing Atkinson’s coaching style, expressing their “growing displeasure” with his communication tactics. Charania and Schiffer write that the aftermath of that meeting could have gone one of two ways. Atkinson could have become more motivated to fix those issues players had — however, sources tell The Athletic that the head coach instead came out of that session “dejected” and not wanting to let anyone “dictate his job.” He began to talk about leaving the job on his own terms, if necessary.

Atkinson and GM Sean Marks ultimately made the final decision to part ways late on Friday night and into Saturday morning, according to The Athletic.

Here’s more on the Nets and their coaching change:

  • Nets center DeAndre Jordan took exception to the idea of blaming Durant and Irving for Atkinson’s departure, calling those reports “bullsh–,” as Peter Botte of The New York Post writes. “I’m close with Kyrie, but Wilson (Chandler) is a new player, Garrett Temple’s a new player. We’re all new players,” Jordan said. “So if you’re going to say new players, put it on all eight of the new players.” Jordan added that he was “shocked” by the news, adding that Atkinson “did a great job with us.”
  • For what it’s worth, the Athletic report from Charania and Schiffer suggested that Jordan was among the players to express frustration to Atkinson last week, with sources indicating there had been a “season-long tension” relating to the coach’s decision not to start Jordan over Jarrett Allen. In Brooklyn’s first game under Jacque Vaughn, Jordan entered the starting lineup, signaling the “beginning of the end of the old Nets,” writes Kristian Winfield of The New York Daily News.
  • Marc Berman of The New York Post explores whether Mark Jackson – who is expected to be a candidate for the Knicks‘ head coaching job this spring – may also be on the Nets’ list of targets, given Rich Kleiman‘s fondness for the former Warriors head coach.
  • As for Atkinson’s next move, one source with knowledge of the situation who spoke to Charania and Schiffer is confident that the former Brooklyn head coach won’t be out of work for long if he doesn’t want to be. “Kenny will be back coaching soon,” the source said. “He works too hard. Works his ass off. He will probably take the time away and replay the scenarios and relationships that went wrong — and come back stronger for the job he wants.”

Rockets Tried To Trade For DeAndre Jordan

The Rockets attempted to add the Nets to their four-team trade this week, hoping to acquire center DeAndre Jordan, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reveals in an Instagram video.

Brooklyn turned down the offer and elected to hold onto the veteran center, but Wojnarowski’s report indicates two things about the Rockets. The team may not have intended to fully commit to the small-ball approach it has used since trading away Clint Capela, and owner Tilman Fertitta was apparently willing to back up his statement that moves won’t be determined by the luxury tax.

Jordan makes $9.88MM this year and is signed for the next three seasons at a total cost of about $30MM. He’s coming off the bench for the Nets and averaging 7.9 points and 9.6 rebounds per night.

Because of how the trade was structured, the Rockets had the flexibility to add up to $12MM in salary before it was finalized. Fertitta gave general manager Daryl Morey the freedom to expand the deal, Wojnarowski adds, even though it would have cemented Houston as a taxpaying team.

Woj doesn’t say what the Rockets were offering the Nets in terms of players and draft picks.

Atlantic Notes: Jordan, Celtics, Sixers, Kobe

Nets center DeAndre Jordan is set to make his return to the court on Wednesday against Detroit, Malika Andrews of ESPN.com tweets. Jordan has been out since January 20 with a dislocated finger.

Here’s more from out of the Atlantic Division:

  • The Celtics could benefit from having one more experienced role player, Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports contends. Boston’s need for an eighth or ninth man could be exposed come playoff time.
  • Javonte Green‘s play has made Brad Stevens‘ rotation decisions more difficult, Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald writes. “I’m just here to do what the coach asks. Even if I’m not playing I’m going to do my best to pick up my teammates from the bench. He put me in there to just do my job,” said Green.
  • The Sixers paid tribute to Kobe Bryant in multiple ways on Tuesday, as I wrote for Heavy.com. Joel Embiid wore No. 24 in the game against the Warriors, scoring 24 points. The big man hit a fadeaway and yelled “KOBE” during the contest.

Nets’ DeAndre Jordan To Be Reevaluated In One Week

Nets‘ center DeAndre Jordan suffered a dislocated middle finger earlier this week but the injury will not require surgery, tweets ESPN’s Malika Andrews. Instead, the veteran big man will be re-evaluated next week.

Without Jordan in its lineup, Brooklyn will need to rely heavily on the young tandem of Jarrett Allen and Nicolas Claxton. The Nets will face the Bucks, Sixers and Lakers in their next three contests, so the absence of Jordan will sting.

In the first year of a four-year, $40MM deal he signed with Brooklyn, the veteran has been a stabilizing influence. Primarily a backup for the Nets, Jordan has served as a mentor while averaging 8.0 PPG and 9.7 RPG in 21 minutes per contest.

Atlantic Notes: Gasol, Ibaka, Jordan, Nets, Sixers

After getting two injured players – Pascal Siakam and Norman Powell – back on Sunday, the Raptors will get more reinforcements on Wednesday, according to Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca, who tweets that Marc Gasol is set to return to the team. The big man has been sidelined since December 18 due to a hamstring injury.

With Gasol healthy again, the Raptors will have a decision to make. Gasol was the team’s starting center before going on the injured list, but Serge Ibaka has been playing some of his best basketball in years during Gasol’s absence, averaging 18.1 PPG and 10.3 RPG with a .541 FG% and a .441 3PT% in 12 games as a starter.

According to Raptors lead assistant coach Adrian Griffin, head coach Nick Nurse will make the decision on who will start at center (Twitter link via Ryan Wolstat of The Toronto Sun). Nurse likes to experiment with his lineups and may try different combinations when Gasol returns, but I’d be surprised if the former Defensive Player of the Year doesn’t reclaim his starting spot, either right away or down the road.

Gasol and Ibaka are on expiring contracts, so both veteran Raptors centers will be motivated to finish the season strong.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • In an interesting piece for ESPN.com, Malika Andrews of ESPN.com examines how DeAndre Jordan‘s gregarious personality and positive locker-room presence factored into the Nets‘ decision to invest $40MM in him this past summer. “We knew we were wading through some uncharted waters where we’ve never been before — where expectations are a little bit bigger,” GM Sean Marks said. “To have a guy like DJ, who can hopefully keep the mood light behind the scenes is — it’s really important.”
  • Within Andrews’ article, Marks acknowledged that the Nets expect to become a taxpaying team next season. The GM suggested that Brooklyn’s investment in Jordan was related to the fact that 2019 was one of the last opportunities the club will have for a while to use cap room. “We’re going to be a tax team,” Marks said. “We are married to that. There’s a limited amount of times and ways you can continue to add to your team. You better do it now. You’re gearing up for a run.”
  • Derek Bodner and Rich Hofmann of The Athletic list 19 potential trade targets for the Sixers at the deadline, including some backup fours, catch-and-shoot players, and combo guards. Meanwhile, David Aldridge of The Athletic makes the case for why acquiring another point guard should be the 76ers’ top priority in trade talks.

Jared Dudley Talks Kuzma, Griffin, Knicks, More

Jared Dudley isn’t one of the NBA’s best players, but he’s one of the league’s best interview subjects, according to Bill Oram of The Athletic, who notes that Dudley is willing to talk to virtually any reporter about virtually any subject.

In his own Q&A with Dudley, Oram asked the Lakers‘ forward about his music tastes, his favorite current teammate, his least favorite NBA cities, how he spends his off days, his biggest fears, and much more.

If you have an Athletic subscription, the conversation is definitely worth checking out in full. But here are a few of Dudley’s more noteworthy comments:

On Kyle Kuzma‘s mini-controversy related to his trainer’s anti-LeBron James comments:

“Not only have I talked to him (about it), other players have talked to him. So when it comes to Kuz, this has been good for him, his maturity and having to deal with it. When I heard he was meeting with the media (on Saturday), that’s something I would do. I would have gone to social media right then and there. ‘He don’t speak for me. Yes I’ve trained with him, but this is where I view it at.'”

On his least favorite current or former teammate:

“I don’t get along with Blake Griffin now. When I was with him I didn’t have a bad relationship with him. That team (the 2013/14 Clippers) was the most toxic team. It was weird because it was a bipolar type team. We were somewhat cool off the floor; we weren’t cool on the floor.

“I just don’t like his personality and attitude. I think he’s a great basketball player and I think you can differentiate the two. It’s easy to be the greatest teammate when you’re winning. How about when you’re losing? How about when you’re down 20? And that’s the biggest thing with that team. It was the biggest front-running team. You’re up 20, everything’s good, throwing lobs. Down 20, people want to fight, bickering. I don’t want to say my least favorite … That’s a teammate right now that I don’t talk (to), don’t get along (with), words aren’t exchanged on the court, yada yada.”

On how he has weighed taking the most lucrative contract offer vs. playing for a contender:

“I never have taken a discount because, for one, I’m never going to get that back. I never believed on that. That being said, I signed a one-year deal (with the Lakers). I might have potentially been able to get a two-year deal somewhere else, but I wanted to come to the Lakers because this not only benefits me this year to win a championship but long-term. Media, dealing with you guys. If I try to become a head coach or a GM, I’ve now played with LeBron, I’ve been on a championship-caliber team. It helps my whole resume going forward.”

On the first change he’d make for the Knicks if he were in position to do so:

“I’d be getting rid of that practice facility in Westchester. Nobody wants to live there, no one wants to commute there. You have to get as close to the city as possible. That’s why Brooklyn got Kevin Durant. I told DeAndre Jordan who told Kevin Durant: The (Nets’) practice facility is two minutes from (Barclays Center). They didn’t even know that. I lived in the city. It took me 12 minutes to get to the practice facility. That’s a huge bonus. People bash the Knicks, but I definitely wouldn’t bash the Knicks. I would have gone there if the Lakers wouldn’t have offered me, or Brooklyn. If it was my third or fourth option, sure.”

Nets Notes: Kurucs, Tucker, Roster, Jordan

With David Nwaba on the shelf due to a season-ending Achilles tear, second-year forward Rodions Kurucs is getting another opportunity to earn a regular role for the Nets, as Brian Lewis of The New York Post writes. After a promising rookie season, Kurucs has been out of the rotation for most of this season, but he logged 11 minutes in Saturday’s win over Atlanta.

“The period of time when I was on the court, basically next man up. Just got David’s minutes a little bit, trying to get some organization right now,” Kurucs said. “Feels great now.”

Kurucs’ role in Brooklyn changed in part due to all the changes the roster underwent this summer, and perhaps in part due to the off-court legal issues he’s dealing with. Still, the Nets haven’t given up on him as his court case plays out, and may have to lean on him until regular contributors start to get healthy.

Here’s more on the Nets:

  • The Nets were among the teams interested in signing G League standout, Rayjon Tucker, sources tell Ian Begley of SNY.tv (Twitter link). Tucker, who had been averaging 23.8 PPG for the Wisconsin Herd, agreed to a guaranteed deal with Utah on Monday.
  • Net Income of NetsDaily wonders if the Nets’ reported interest in Tucker suggests a roster move might be around the corner for the team. A hardship exception to add a 16th man is a possibility, but waiving a current member of the 15-man squad might make more sense, as the NetsDaily article lays out.
  • The Nets faced some criticism for handing a DeAndre Jordan a four-year, $40MM contract this past summer, but it’s hard to imagine where the team would be without him, says Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Jordan has averaged 10.0 RPG despite playing just 21.3 minutes per contest and is showing off a newfound passing ability — his 3.8 assists per 36 minutes are easily a career high.

Atlantic Notes: Simmons, Scott, Nets, Lowry

Ben Simmons made his second career 3-pointer last night, but Sixers coach Brett Brown is looking forward to the day that Simmons’ long-distance shooting isn’t a story anymore, writes Tim Bontemps of ESPN. Brown challenged Simmons to make the 3-pointer a regular part of his arsenal, telling reporters he would like him to shoot at least one every game.

“This is what I want,” Brown said, ”and you can pass it along to his agent, his family and friends. I want a 3-point shot a game, minimum. The pull-up 2s … I’m fine with whatever is open. But I’m interested in the 3-point shot. The mentality that he has where he’s turning corners and taking that long step, that gather step, and bringing his shoulders to the rim and trying to dunk or finish tight, will equal higher efficiency, or getting fouled. That’s the world that interests me the most. Those two things.”

Shortly after signing a five-year extension this summer, Simmons talked about becoming more of an outside shooting threat. That hasn’t materialized so far, as he has taken just four in 21 games.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Mike Scott took advantage of his first start of the season Saturday, delivering 21 points in a win over Cleveland, relays Mike Narducci of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Scott broke out of a shooting slump with nine first-quarter points as the Sixers built a big lead. “Just to try to find something to jump-start him,” Brown said in explaining the lineup change. “He has been down. We need him to be up.”
  • When the Nets signed DeAndre Jordan this summer, they weren’t sure how he was going to fit with Jarrett Allen, but the centers have made the pairing work, observes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Jordan and Allen are the only teammates in the league who rank in the top 10 in effective field goal percentage and rebound percentage. “During the summer, there could’ve been a lot of negative thinking in my head,” Allen said. “… But I took it as a positive. They brought him in, and he’s a great person to learn from — first-team All-Defense — he had a great background and I just tried to learn from him as much as I could.”
  • Kyle Lowry was surprised to learn that he’s the longest-serving active professional athlete in Toronto, notes Doug Smith of The Toronto Star“I thought I was going to be here for a year, two years, and be long gone,” said Lowry, who has played 507 regular season games for the Raptors. “Come up here for business and that’s about it but, at the end of the day, I think the perseverance and the work I’ve put in and the belief the organization has in me means something.”

Injury Updates: Kyrie, McGruder, E. Davis, Fall

After missing Wednesday’s game in Boston, Nets point guard Kyrie Irving has also been ruled out of Friday’s rematch with the Celtics in Brooklyn, as Brian Lewis of The New York Post writes. Irving, who continues to deal with a right shoulder impingement, will miss his eighth consecutive game as a result of the injury.

The Nets and Celtics face one another four times this season, but the next two games won’t take place until after the All-Star break. Irving’s first opportunity to play his old team will be on March 3, when the Nets travel to Boston again for a prime-time showdown on TNT.

The Nets did get some good injury news on Thursday, as the team announced that center DeAndre Jordan has been listed as probable for Friday’s game vs. the Celtics after missing Brooklyn’s last two contests.

Here are a few more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • Rodney McGruder, who has been playing a regular rotation role for the Clippers during the team’s seven-game winning streak, has been ruled out of Friday’s game vs. San Antonio after suffering a right hamstring strain on Wednesday, per the team. As Mirjam Swanson of The Orange County Register details, head coach Doc Rivers is prepared to be without McGruder “for a while,” though the club has yet to announce any sort of timeline for the swingman’s recovery.
  • Veteran center Ed Davis appears to be nearing a return for the Jazz. Davis, who was diagnosed with a fractured fibula nearly four weeks ago, has been upgraded to questionable for Utah’s game in Memphis on Friday, tweets Ben Dowsett of Forbes.
  • Celtics rookie big man Tacko Fall was diagnosed with a right knee bone bruise this week while playing for the Maine Red Claws, Boston’s G League affiliate (Twitter link). Fall is off to a good start in Maine, with 15.0 PPG, 10.8 RPG, and 2.7 BPG in six games (24.0 MPG), but he’ll miss at least the next week or two, according to the team.