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Two more Nets test positive for COVID-19

Results shake team's vision of season success

June 30, 2020 John Torenli
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Nets leading scorer and assists man Spencer Dinwiddie and the team’s top rebounder, DeAndre Jordan, both confirmed Monday that they had tested positive for COVID-19, further dampening Brooklyn’s plans to seriously compete during the NBA’s planned restart in Orlando, Florida next month.

Dinwiddie, who was averaging 20.6 points and 6.8 assists per contest through 64 games at the time of the league’s pause on March 11, has not yet indicated whether the positive test will prevent him from playing with the Nets when they hit the hardwood for their restart opener on July 31.

“Over the past few months, I have been diligent about protecting myself and others from COVID-19 by following all designated protocol and quarantining,” Dinwiddie told The Athletic on Monday.

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“I was ready and prepared to rejoin my teammates as we were to be an early entry team in the resumed season. I flew private to return to New York, passed multiple COVID-19 tests over my first several days in New York and was able to participate in a couple practices within the first week.

“Originally, we were supposed to be one of the teams to enter into the Orlando bubble early,” he added. “But training camp got switched back to New York and unfortunately I am now positive. Given that I have experienced symptoms, including fever and chest tightness, it is unclear on whether or not I’ll be able to participate in Orlando.”

Jordan, who pulled down 10.0 boards per game while seeing action in 56 games thus far this season, informed Nets management that he will not be participating in Brooklyn’s eight-game schedule ahead of the postseason, if the Nets even manage to hold on to their spot.

“Found out last night and confirmed again today that I’ve tested positive for Covid while being back in market. As a result of this, I will not be in Orlando for the resumption of the season,” Jordan tweeted Monday.

Currently seeded seventh in the Eastern Conference playoff race, just a half game ahead of the Orlando Magic, their first opponent when the restart begins, the Nets (30-34) have been hit harder than any other NBA team by the potentially deadly virus.

Back in March, superstar forward Kevin Durant and three other as-yet-unidentified Nets tested positive for COVID, but all four have since made full recoveries, according to team management.

Durant revealed earlier this month that he would not be participating in the restart due to his ongoing recovery from an Achilles injury suffered during the 2019 NBA Finals as a member of the Golden State Warriors.

The high-priced free agent, whom Nets general manager Sean Marks acquired along with Kyrie Irving and Jordan last summer, is considered to be the key piece in the Nets’ drive toward their first-ever NBA championship.

Irving, sidelined for all but 20 games this season due to shoulder and knee injuries, will also sit out the restart, citing health concerns and saying the league might be taking attention away from the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement.

The positive tests for Dinwiddie and Jordan came one day after Nets veteran forward Wilson Chandler opted out of the restart due to family concerns, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

That leaves the Nets with rotation players Caris LeVert, Joe Harris, Taurean Prince, Jarrett Allen, Garrett Temple, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot and a group of seldom-used reserves and new signees as they prepare to head down to the ESPN World Wide of Sports Center at Disney World next month.

DeAndre Jordan confirmed Monday that he would not join his Brooklyn teammates in Orlando next month after testing positive for the novel coronavirus. Photo: Matt Slocum/AP

What began last October as a season of great promise after Brooklyn reached the postseason for the first time in four years during the 2018-19 campaign has since disintegrated into a guessing game of who the Nets will lose next.

Brooklyn also parted ways with head coach Kenny Atkinson less than a week before the NBA went on indefinite pause, installing interim head coach Jacque Vaughn, who spoke earlier this month of putting the team together and getting them ready to play again amidst a global pandemic and social unrest.

“It’s been a very intricate balance,” said Vaughn, who won his first two games at the helm before the NBA halted play. “I think the most important thing has been the mental health of not only the players, the staff, the organization, and keeping that to the forefront.”

“So while you’re also trying to get better as a staff and you’re thinking about basketball — the preparation that goes along with that — you’re thinking about life as well and the mental health of people taking care of others, but also the self-care that goes along with the stress and anxiety at this time of life.”

That stress and anxiety has to be building among players and staff alike at the team’s HSS Training Center in Sunset Park, which has not held any type of workout over the past several days.

The bigger question in the days to come may not be how the Nets compete in Orlando, but whether they’ll send any semblance of a team there at all.

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