Nets weakened by positive virus tests

Brooklyn's DeAndre Jordan (in black, playing against Dallas in January) announced on Monday that he had contracted Covid-19. The centre will not feature when the NBA resumes on July 30. PHOTO: EPA-EFE
Brooklyn's DeAndre Jordan (in black, playing against Dallas in January) announced on Monday that he had contracted Covid-19. The centre will not feature when the NBA resumes on July 30. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Infections of Jordan and Dinwiddie add more woes to depleted team ahead of NBA restart

NEW YORK • DeAndre Jordan and Spencer Dinwiddie, key members of the Brooklyn Nets, both said on Monday that they had tested positive for the coronavirus since returning to Brooklyn for individual workouts last week.

Jordan, who has asthma and has battled multiple cases of pneumonia in his 12-year career, announced on Twitter that he would not participate in the National Basketball Association's (NBA) restart, which is scheduled for July 30 at the Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

The centre tweeted: "Found out last night and confirmed again today that I've tested positive for Covid. As a result of this, I will not be in Orlando for the resumption of the season."

Point guard Dinwiddie, who averaged 20.6 points and 6.8 assists per game in what had been a breakout season, followed up Jordan's tweet with one of his own, saying he still hoped to play in Florida but adding that "unfortunately I have been one of the cases that has various symptoms".

The 27-year-old also told The Athletic he will remain in quarantine and be re-evaluated in 14 days.

Jordan, 31, is averaging 8.3 points and 10 rebounds this season, his first with the Nets. He is playing in a reserve role for the first time since 2009-10, his second NBA season with the Los Angeles Clippers.

It was not immediately known if the Nets' practice centre would remain open, which teammates and staff members Jordan and Dinwiddie had worked with, or if the club's plans to participate in the NBA's 22-team return were in jeopardy because of the lost manpower.

The franchise declined to comment on Monday.

As recently as last Friday, both Adam Silver, the NBA commissioner, and Michele Roberts, the executive director of the National Basketball Players Association, had expressed relief that only 16 of a group of 302 NBA players had tested positive for the coronavirus on June 23.

Provided that the Nets' outbreak is an isolated case that does not jeopardise the league's comeback plans at large, what is clear is that the team would not be close to full strength should they leave for Florida as scheduled next Tuesday.

In addition to Jordan, two more former All-Stars - Kevin Durant (Achilles tendon tear) and Kyrie Irving (shoulder surgery) - are still rehabilitating from injuries and both have said they will consider not playing even if they are healthy.

 

Durant had also confirmed that he was one of four Nets players who had tested positive for the coronavirus in March.

Brooklyn also lost rookie forward Nicolas Claxton and veteran forward Wilson Chandler before losing Jordan and potentially Dinwiddie.

The Nets, at 30-34, were seventh in the Eastern Conference when the season was suspended on March 11.

They are a half-game ahead of No. 8 Orlando and six games up on ninth-placed Washington.

But the Wizards can force a play-in round for a play-off spot if they finish within four games of the eventual eighth seed in the East after every team play eight games.

A potential consolation for the Nets is the ability to retain their first-round pick in the Oct 15 draft if they miss the post-season.

The pick would go to the Minnesota Timberwolves if the Nets held on to a play-off spot under interim coach Jacque Vaughn, whose first move after replacing Kenny Atkinson on March 7 was moving Jordan into the starting line-up.

NYTIMES, REUTERS

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 01, 2020, with the headline 'Nets weakened by positive virus tests'. Print Edition | Subscribe