Coming into play Thursday, Kevin Durant ranks ninth in minutes per recreation.
He’s on tempo to play extra complete minutes than he has in any season since 2015-16.
Durant, in fact, is without doubt one of the greatest gamers on this planet. However given his age (33) and surgically-repaired proper Achilles, the Nets would like to play him fewer minutes.
“It’s not very best to have him have such a burden, however I don’t know what choices now we have apart from to play him much less and lose extra,” Nets coach Steve Nash stated Tuesday. “He’s an excellent participant, and we’re down an excellent participant (Kyrie Irving) and a extremely good participant (Joe Harris) and some others (Nic Claxton — ailing). So I don’t know if now we have the posh proper now. Hopefully, the season provides us alternatives.”
Up to now, Durant and the Nets have made one of the best of their alternatives.
They’ve gained 11 of their final 14 amid accidents and Irving’s absence.
Positive, Brooklyn hasn’t been nice towards a number of the league’s high groups.
However it’s nonetheless early within the season; James Harden seems to be discovering his rhythm and the Nets can nonetheless tinker with their roster.
To that finish, it’s price noting that, as of late final month, Brooklyn remained open to speaking trades involving Irving, per SNY sources. ESPN reported in late October that the Nets had been taking calls on potential Irving trades, however not making them. Within the weeks following that report, a number of groups stated Brooklyn has continued to take that method with the All-Star guard.
The Nets determined earlier within the season that Irving wouldn’t be with the workforce till he will get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Irving is at the moment unvaccinated, which violates a New York Metropolis mayoral mandate and prevents him from taking part in in residence video games on the Barclays Heart.
Irving is allowed to observe on the Nets facility and play in highway video games. Brooklyn proprietor Joe Tsai and GM Sean Marks determined earlier within the season that they didn’t need Irving to be a part-time participant and have acknowledged that Irving can be welcome again if he’s cleared to play beneath New York Metropolis’s native mandate.
It’s unclear if Irving has thought of getting the COVID-19 vaccine. The Nets have stated publicly that they might welcome Irving again with open arms if he’s eligible to return.
Although, as you’d think about, there’s a measurable quantity of frustration with Irving amongst individuals within the group. So I don’t suppose Irving’s return can be as seamless and stress-free because it’s been introduced.
If the Nets commerce Irving, they don’t have to fret in regards to the ramifications of Irving’s return to the workforce.
The commerce marketplace for Irving, who can choose out of his contract after this season, is unknown. However the Nets wouldn’t be dealing from a place of power in any Irving transaction.
An even bigger-picture query for the Nets: what’s Harden’s future with the workforce?
The Philadelphia Inquirer just lately reported that the Sixers have Harden on their want record of gamers their concentrating on in a Ben Simmons commerce.
Even earlier than these stories, Nets individuals who would want to concentrate on Harden’s future had been effectively conscious that Philadelphia loomed as a possible suitor for the guard, SNY sources say.
The Sixers and workforce president Daryl Morey tried to commerce for Harden final season earlier than the Nets landed him. Philadelphia was keen to incorporate Simmons within the commerce, which is without doubt one of the many components in Simmons’ falling out with the group.
It appears unlikely that the Nets would entertain buying and selling Harden in-season. Harden has stated publicly that he loves Brooklyn. He declined to signal an extension previous to the season however it was seen as a call pushed by funds. Harden might make considerably extra money if he re-signed with the Nets as a free agent this summer time.
But when issues go sideways in Brooklyn and Harden decides to check the market, Morey and the Sixers will nearly definitely have curiosity.
At that time, Simmons-for-Harden sign-and-trade wouldn’t appear so far-fetched.
However these off-court points appear distant for the time being. Proper now, the Nets try to win video games, construct chemistry and put together for an extended playoff run.
And Durant has no downside shouldering heavy minutes to get them there.
“I’m a basketball participant. I get pleasure from to play. I wanna play for 48 minutes. That’s simply what it’s,” he stated after Tuesday’s win over the Knicks. “…. I prefer to play, and if I can persuade coach to play me the entire second half generally and put me in earlier in quarters, I’m gonna do it.
“It don’t matter. My basketball life shouldn’t be that lengthy, so I’m gonna get probably the most out of it.”