The Brooklyn Nets were the hottest team in the league for the first two games of the season, having blown out the Warriors and Celtics in succession, but have gone 1-4 since with losses to teams like the Hornets and most recently the Wizards. Those performances were reminders of the continued growing pains the Nets will have as they work with a very new roster led by superstars in Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, doing so under a new coaching staff headed up by Steve Nash.
The Nets are still tinkering with rotations and combinations, as well as trying to get accustomed to the offense which has seen them struggle mightily with turnovers as they all still feel out where everyone is going to be at any given time. Their next chance to work things out will be on Tuesday against a Jazz team coming off of their best performance of the season against the Spurs, but Brooklyn will be without a key piece.
The team announced on Monday that Kevin Durant will not be with the team due to the league’s health and safety protocols.
Brooklyn Nets @HSpecialSurgery Status Report for tomorrow night's game vs. Utah:
Durant (health and safety protocols) – OUT
Dinwiddie (partially torn ACL, right knee) – OUT
Claxton (right knee tendinopathy) – OUT
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) January 4, 2021
What raises eyebrows about the news that KD is in the league’s protocols is that he was one of four Nets players to test positive for COVID-19 back in March, remaining asymptomatic. Durant is in the protocols due to a close contact, not a second positive result, which would mean he must isolate and continue producing negative tests before he can rejoin the team after seven days, similar to what John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins went through earlier in the season — which Shams Charania and Adrian Wojnarowski confirmed shortly after the news broke.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) January 4, 2021
Kevin Durant's facing a 7-day quarantine under league protocols because of exposure to a positive COVID-19 case, sources tell ESPN. He had the coronavirus in May, continues to register antibodies and has tested negative in multiple recents tests. He'd miss 4 games in next week. https://t.co/HFHFKHolte
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 4, 2021
With that timeline, he would miss four games as Brooklyn plays the Jazz, Sixers and Grizzlies this week, before facing the Thunder on Sunday. For any team, missing a star for an extended period makes life difficult, but that’s especially the case for a team still trying to figure out its identity around the two stars they revolve.