“NBA’s new plan doesn’t change Kevin Durant’s return”
June 5, 2020 | 3:12pm
Recently, Nets president Sean Marks had kept up the sliver of possibility of Durant making his return during the restart that begins July 31, but The Post reported Thursday it was doubtful.
Durant would instead be ready to roll for Nov. 10’s training camp and potentially the Dec. 1 season opener.
Though the July 31 re-opener would be 13 months since he ruptured his Achilles tendon, the Nets are concerned about Durant’s rehab being interrupted dramatically in mid-March when he was up to 5-on-5 scrimmages with Nets bench players and player-developmental coaches.
That was the last part of his Achilles rehab. But the pandemic prevented Durant from playing much basketball for nearly three months — let alone scrimmaging 5-on-5.
The Nets will regroup for training camp June 30. For the time being, Durant is in Los Angeles.
“I don’t think he’s going to play,’’ one NBA source said.
Marks hinted two weeks ago Durant was out for Orlando when he said he was looking forward to Durant playing in Brooklyn.
“I’m excited about him on the floor at Barclays in front of that fan base,’’ Marks told a New Zealand podcast.
Rich Kleiman, Durant’s agent/manager, said recently on an Athletic podcast a Durant return was “unrealistic.’’ And his buddy Jay Williams, who is a host on Durant’s “Boardroom” show, told The Post last month it was “unfair to Kevin” to be thrust into a playoff cauldron so quickly upon his return.
Marks will talk to the New York media next week about the Nets’ restart and potentially precarious situation making the playoffs with an eight-game regular season with a potential 8-9 seed play-in game.
In fact, there’s motivation to not make the playoffs. If they happen to fall out, the Nets would regain their lottery-protected first-rounder from Minnesota and would have two first-round picks in Oct. 15’s 2020 draft.
The benefit of Durant making a return is to get familiar with his new teammates, but he can do that during training-camp scrimmages in late June/July. Plus, the Nets are being guided by an interim coach, Jacques Vaughn, who likely won’t be around next season.
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