Jarrett Allen

Nets’ LeVert, Harris, Allen Won’t Play On Tuesday

The Nets will be without three of their key players on Tuesday, with head coach Jacque Vaughn announcing today that Caris LeVert (thigh contusion), Joe Harris (back tightness), and Jarrett Allen (rest) won’t play against Milwaukee (Twitter links via Alex Schiffer of The Athletic).

Tuesday’s game against the Bucks will be the first half of a back-to-back set for the Nets, which Vaughn noted today when announcing his inactives. Allen, at least, should be good to go on Wednesday vs. the Celtics after playing 38 minutes on Sunday vs. Washington — we’ll have to wait to find out if LeVert and/or Harris will be back for Wednesday’s game as well.

The Nets’ active roster on Tuesday will look almost nothing like the group that the team relied on for much of the season. Even with LeVert, Harris, and Allen in the lineup, Brooklyn entered the restart shorthanded, missing injured players like Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, and Nicolas Claxton, as well as Spencer Dinwiddie, Taurean Prince, DeAndre Jordan, and Wilson Chandler, all of whom either opted out of the restart or were ruled out following positive coronavirus tests.

On Tuesday, the Nets will be led by the likes of Tyler Johnson, Garrett Temple, Chris Chiozza, Rodions Kurucs, Lance Thomas, and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot as they go up against the NBA’s best team.

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: Head Coach, Allen, Kyrie, Durant

Asked today during an ESPN Radio appearance about the two NBA head coaching jobs in New York, former coach and current analyst Stan Van Gundy said there’s “no question” that the Nets‘ position is more favorable than the Knicks‘ opening, as Brian Lewis of The New York Post writes.

“Of the two, the Nets are the better job. There’s no question about that right now,” Van Gundy said. “The organization has been more stable. They’ve won more games. They have more talent.”

While the Knicks project to have a good deal of cap flexibility going forward and have some promising young players like RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson, the Nets should have stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving healthy for the start of next season, with a talented supporting cast that includes Caris LeVert, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Joe Harris.

Both teams will be in the market for new head coaches after the season, with Mike Miller and Jacque Vaughn holding the jobs in the interim after having replaced David Fizdale and Kenny Atkinson, respectively.

Here’s more on the Nets:

  • In the wake of Atkinson’s departure and DeAndre Jordan‘s ascension to the starting lineup, Jarrett Allen‘s long-term outlook in Brooklyn has never been cloudier, according to Brian Lewis of The New York Post. The Nets’ handling of Allen raises the question of whether the young center could become an offseason trade piece, Lewis writes.
  • Kyrie Irving announced today on Instagram that he’s donating $323K to Feeding America amidst the COVID-19 crisis and is working to distribute 250,000 meals across the New York area. As Howard Beck of Bleacher Report tweets, Irving chose that specific donation amount of $323K to reflect his birthday (March 23) and as a nod to Kobe Bryant (the sum of the digits is 8).
  • Appearing on Friday on NBC Sports Washington’s Wizards Talk podcast, Kevin Durant‘s good friend Quinn Cook provided a positive update on Durant, who tested positive for the coronavirus last week. “He’s just encouraging social distancing, staying inside and don’t expose others,” Cook said. “For him to step up to the plate and use his platform to spread awareness, it’s brave. That’s the kind of guy he is. He’s fine. He’s doing great.”

Atlantic Notes: Allen, Langford, Knicks, Sixers

Nets starting center Jarrett Allen has accepted his recent benching in fourth quarters, according to Brian Lewis of the New York Post. Coach Kenny Atkinson has favored $40MM backup center DeAndre Jordan to close out games.

“You get the feeling of what’s going to happen when you hit around the eight-minute mark, whether you’re going to go in or not,” Allen told Lewis. “If they’re vibing then go ahead and let them vibe, let them go out and win it. So I’m not tripping over that.”

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • Rookie Celtics shooting guard Romeo Langford has closed out three Boston victories thus far in February as a defensive stopper, per Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe. The 6’4″ wing out of Indiana, the No. 14 pick in the 2019 lottery, appreciates the faith that coach Brad Stevens has in Langford’s growing abilities on that side of the ball. “It’s good that (Stevens) already, like, trusts me,” Langord said. “So I’ve just got to go out there and deliver.”
  • As the Knicks continue to rework their public perception under newly-hired brand consultant Steve Stoute, they may try to improve relations with past New York heroes, according to Steve Popper of Newsday. “As a New York fan, as a friend of Charles Oakley, as somebody a part of the Knicks organization, of course, I would love to see that subsided and bring that back,” Stoute mentioned in an appearance on ESPN’s First Take.
  • The Sixers have underperformed relative to preseason expectations this year, but the dynamic between All-Stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons may not be the root of the issue, per ESPN’s Kirk Goldsberry. Goldsberry points to their club’s unending roster churn over the years and a lack of sharpshooting depth as the prime culprits. That said, at 35-22, the Sixers sit just 1.5 games behind the 36-20 Heat in competing for a top-four Eastern Conference playoff seed.

Nets Notes: Lineups, Bryant, Claxton, Levy

As the Nets prepare for Kyrie Irving‘s return to action, the team seems to be mulling the idea of leaning more heavily on small-ball lineups, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. While it’s possible not all of Irving, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Caris LeVert will be in Brooklyn’s starting five, there’s a chance that all three guards could play together at the end of games.

“The big question, the big thing is who’s going to finish; that’s the one, how do you finish?” head coach Kenny Atkinson said. “We have opportunities to play small, really small, too. That’s within our possibilities. We’ll just figure it out. It’s hard to know until you have it in your hands what exactly you’re going to do.”

As Lewis notes, a lineup that features the Nets’ top three guards alongside Joe Harris at the four and Jarrett Allen at the five has only played 18 minutes together this year, but it has been one of the club’s most effective five-man units, outscoring opponents by 20.5 minutes per 100 possessions. Harris told Lewis that he “wouldn’t be surprised” if Brooklyn opts for smaller lineups more often the rest of the way.

“I would’ve never thought in my life I’d be playing power forward in the NBA, but that’s the direction the NBA is going,” Harris said. “And as the year wears on, teams are doing whatever it takes to win games. Sometimes that’s going with a smaller lineup.”

Here’s more on the Nets:

  • Alex Schiffer of The Athletic takes a look at how Travon Bryant, who had a decade-long career as a player in international leagues, has become a key member of Atkinson’s coaching staff. Bryant, who works with Brooklyn’s frontcourt players, has had an impact on rookie big man Nicolas Claxton this season. “I enjoy working with him every single day,” Claxton said. “I have to give some credit to him. He’s extremely knowledgeable of the game, and I think he’s going to be a good coach in this league for a while.”
  • Back in November, the Nets parted ways with CEO David Levy after just two months. Speaking recently to Ira Boudway of Bloomberg (hat tip to Brian Lewis of The New York Post), Nets owner Joseph Tsai explained that he and Levy had different expectations for what that job would entail. “He was already looking ahead at how to grow the J Tsai sports portfolio, but we also needed someone to do the nuts and bolts,” Tsai said. “Maybe he thought that he wanted to do something that’s bigger and he could just bring in other people to do it, and I’m of a view that before you outsource something you should do it yourself.”
  • After getting a week off for the All-Star break, the Nets will make a concerted effort to avoid a repeat of their post-Christmas-break struggles, Lewis writes in a separate story for The New York Post. Following a four-day Christmas break, Brooklyn lost seven consecutive games and 12 of 14. A similar post-All-Star run could jeopardize the club’s hold on a playoff spot.

O’Connor’s Latest: Capela, Covington, D-Lo, Nets, More

The Rockets, Hawks, and Timberwolves recently discussed a three-team trade that would have sent Robert Covington to Houston, Clint Capela to Atlanta, and Brooklyn’s 2020 first-round pick (from Atlanta) to Minnesota, league sources tell Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer.

As O’Connor explains, the Timberwolves’ goal would have been to use that Brooklyn first-rounder as part of a trade package for D’Angelo Russell. According to O’Connor, Minnesota was willing to include its own 2020 first-round pick in that offer too, but the Warriors turned them down, putting those three-team talks on hold.

We don’t know exactly what protections the Timberwolves might have wanted to put on their pick, or what contract(s) they wanted the Warriors to take on in that offer for Russell, but it’s still worth noting that Golden State declined an offer featuring multiple first-rounders. While the Dubs are reportedly open to listening to inquiries on D-Lo, their asking price is high, and it appears they’d be happy to wait until the offseason to revisit Russell’s trade market, if necessary.

Here’s more from O’Connor:

  • The Warriors‘ price tag on Russell is one reason the Timberwolves‘ asking price for Covington is so high, O’Connor writes. O’Connor also adds the Nuggets to the list of teams with interest in Covington, though he acknowledges that interest is “minimal,” suggesting the Rockets and Sixers are more serious suitors.
  • The Rockets and Hawks have had some discussions about Capela without the Timberwolves‘ involvement, per O’Connor.
  • The Rockets offered Capela to the Nets in a deal that would have included Jarrett Allen and Taurean Prince, league sources tell O’Connor. We’ve heard Houston wants to get a wing and another big man for Capela, so the ask makes sense, but it’s not a surprise that Brooklyn turned it down.
  • The Hawks are believed to be wary about investing $20MM+ per year in John Collins on his next contract, preferring a less expensive center like Capela or Tristan Thompson, sources tell O’Connor. For what it’s worth, Hawks beat writer Chris Kirschner of The Athletic (Twitter links) suggests the recent Collins-related rumblings are coming from other teams, not Atlanta.

Woj’s Latest: Love, Bucks, Lakers, Clippers, More

ESPN insiders Adrian Wojnarowski and Bobby Marks published a pair of podcasts on Sunday examining each of the NBA’s two conferences, breaking down trade possibilities and scenarios for a number of teams.

The two podcasts, which are worth listening to in full, included several interesting notes and tidbits on the trade market, so we’ll pass along several of the highlights right here:

Eastern Conference (full podcast link):

  • The Cavaliers are resigned to the fact that they likely won’t end up moving Kevin Love by Thursday, per Wojnarowski. Unless something “comes out of nowhere,” Cleveland may end up having to revisit Love’s trade market in the offseason, Woj adds.
  • Based on how well they’ve played this season, the Bucks will be somewhat “risk-averse” at the deadline, according to Wojnarowski. Although Milwaukee may make a move, the buyout market could be a safer bet for an upgrade around the edges of their roster. For what it’s worth, ESPN’s Zach Lowe suggested today that, given their crowded rotation, the Bucks could use Indiana’s 2020 first-round pick to make “some sort of consolidation trade” if they don’t think it’d disrupt their chemistry.
  • Wojnarowski is hearing the same thing that Lowe is about Hawks center John Collins — teams have been monitoring him, and Atlanta is in the market a for a center, but it would be a surprise if the club trades Collins at this point.
  • If the Pistons can get a first-round pick for Andre Drummond, they seem likely pull the trigger. If not, they may have to decide whether it’s worth it to accept expiring contracts and a second-rounder or two, says Wojnarowski.
  • The Nets are active in trade talks and could make a deal as long as it makes sense for next year’s team, according to Woj and Marks. For what it’s worth, while sources told Lowe that Brooklyn won’t trade players such as Spencer Dinwiddie, Caris LeVert, or Jarrett Allen for draft picks, Lowe wonders if the Nets will eventually consider a move involving a player like Dinwiddie and LeVert, since the team’s backcourt hasn’t fully meshed when everyone has been healthy this year.

Western Conference (full podcast link):

  • While the Lakers and Clippers may be active on the trade market, they may not be feeling tremendous pressure to do anything, since they’re expected to be the top two choices for many players on the buyout market, Wojnarowski points out.
  • Andre Iguodala, for instance, would almost certainly gravitate toward either the Lakers or Clippers if he’s bought out, per Wojnarowski. However, as we’ve heard all season, the Grizzlies remain firm on finding a trade and avoiding a buyout for the former Finals MVP.
  • Speaking of Iguodala, Wojnarowski says the Rockets tried for “months” to find a way to acquire him, exploring a number of multi-team possibilities. They’ve backed off that pursuit after not finding any viable scenarios
  • Woj and Marks agree that there’s no pressure on the Thunder to move any of their veteran trade candidates. Lowe made a similar point today, writing that it could make sense to stand pat with guys like Danilo Gallinari, Dennis Schroder, and Steven Adams, who could be traded (or signed-and-traded, in Gallinari’s case) in the summer.

Atlantic Notes: DSJ, Raptors, Allen, Nets

Dennis Smith Jr., who will miss his 13th consecutive game on Monday night due to an oblique strain, is due to be re-evaluated on Tuesday, at which point the Knicks may have a clearer idea of when he might be able to return, says Greg Joyce of The New York Post.

“He is progressing well,” Knicks head coach Mike Miller said of Smith. “He has been practicing some. With games every day, we haven’t practiced anything steady. So he’s been able to get some practices in, but not a lot of contact and not much full court.”

It has been a disappointing first full season in New York for Smith, who is averaging just 5.2 PPG on .325/.293/.500 shooting in 21 games (16.1 MPG). The former lottery pick will also have to compete with fellow Knicks point guards Elfrid Payton and Frank Ntilikina for minutes when he’s ready to return.

Here’s more out of the Atlantic:

  • The Raptors will approach the trade deadline viewing themselves as buyers, but a significant deal is unlikely, writes Eric Koreen of The Athletic.
  • As Anthony Puccio of Nets Daily details, Jarrett Allen isn’t holding any sort of grudge toward Kyrie Irving after the Nets‘ point guard failed to mention the big man when he listed several of the team’s core players. “What do I expect him to do, name the whole team? That’s really the only comment I have on that,” Allen said. “… We talked about it. He ended up saying everything is fine, so no bad blood.”
  • In a pair of stories for NetsDaily, Chris Milholen checks in on Nets youngsters Chris Chiozza and Jeremiah Martin. The two point guards are aiming to earn a longer look from the NBA club after recently replacing Henry Ellenson and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot as Brooklyn’s two-way players.

Kyrie Irving Isn’t Demanding Changes Before Trade Deadline

Nets guard Kyrie Irving clarified comments he made earlier in the week and insisted he wasn’t pressuring the front office to make significant changes before next month’s trade deadline, Malika Andrews of ESPN reports. However, he did hint that changes need to be made in the long run in order to become a serious title contender.

Irving said on Friday that in his previous comments he was simply giving a forthright assessment of the team’s current plight. Brooklyn is four games below .500 and currently sits in the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference.

“I think we have championship aspirations,” Irving said. “Do we want to be the eighth seed going into the playoffs? The seventh seed? But you’re able to be real with the team that you have here, and you’re able to collectively, cohesively come together as a group. That is what you figure out. But the goals are still to win a championship. I don’t come in every day to be mediocre or to be in the middle of the standings.”

Irving told the media on Wednesday after back-to-back losses that the team’s weaknesses were “glaring” and that additional pieces were needed in order to reach the next level. At the time, Irving named Kevin Durant, DeAndre Jordan, Garrett Temple, Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris LeVert as key pieces but left out other rotation players, including Jarrett AllenTaurean Prince, and Joe Harris.

Irving spoke with teammates about those comments and said that failing to mention certain players was just an oversight on his part. However, he does believe the roster as currently constructed won’t be enough to put the Nets over the top.

“I reached out to make sure nothing was taken out of context — making sure that the guys knew exactly what I meant,” Irving said. “And that is the only thing that matters. Everyone can say, ‘If I was in this position, I would’ve said this, I would’ve done this.’ … The most important thing is making sure these guys — they have the belief in themselves and I continue to reiterate that confidence we have as a team. It is going to come down to that in order to be at a championship level to compete against the West, we need more.”

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.”