KD Staying with Nets
After almost two months of demanding a trade and giving ownership an ultimatum between himself and coach Steve Nash and GM Sean Marks, Kevin Durant has decided to stay with the Brooklyn Nets. Brooklyn can now expect to have both Durant and Kyrie Irving in addition to Ben Simmons for the 2022-23 season. Many reports noted Brooklyn was not close to a trade with any teams and that the Rudy Gobert trade played a role in that. Reports also noted that teams were not willing to gut their team, something most teams would have had to do to trade for KD. Looking at the 2023-23 season, there are many questions for the team. What are the expectations for the team? Many news outlets and basketball personalities would say a healthy Nets team could reach the Eastern Conference Finals if healthy. While that’s a possibility, there is a lot of competition for the Nets. Boston, Philadelphia, Milwaukee, and Miami all had better records last season and all have the potential to reach the NBA Finals if healthy. Another important question is if Steve Nash will be head coach by the end of the season. Nash was criticized when he became the head coach of the Nets. Kyrie Irving once said the team had three coaches on the court referring to himself, KD, and James Harden. KD gave Nets Owner Joe Tsai the ultimatum of keeping him or Nash, and Tsai put out a statement supporting both Nash and management. Nash will most likely have a quarter of the season to lead the team before a decision is made. If the Nets look good, Nash will most likely survive as coach until the end of the season. If Brooklyn’s record is bad, Nash could be shown the door.
Chet Holmgren’s Injury
During a pro-am game on Saturday, Oklahoma City Thunder rookie Chet Holmgren left the game after suffering an injury. Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported that Holmgren suffered ligament damage in his foot and that further evaluations will determine the timetable for his return. Chet’s injury has long-term implications for Chet, the Thunder, and the league. As a big man, Chet’s injury will have long last effects. While the severity of the injury has not been determined at the time of this writing, the ligament injury will follow Holmgren throughout his career. If this keeps Holmgren out for an extended period of time, the Thunder will suffer record-wise, not having one of their core pieces around. While that could help in terms of the 2023 Draft, it could cause a small delay in OKC’s long-term rebuild. One of the biggest implications Holmgren’s injury will have is the future of players all over the league playing games in the offseason. Multiple players have played in pro-am games during the offseason including LeBron James, DeMar DeRozan, Trae Young, and Dejounte Murray. While there have been no discussions of the league making a rule change about playing in off-season games, another injury like this could get that conversation started.
Free Agents Still Available
With training camp less than a month away, there are still plenty of free agents that have not signed with a team. Restricted free agent Colin Sexton has not signed with a team. Still recovering from his knee injury last season could play into Sexton not being signed, along with him and teams not agreeing on a contract. Sexton was previously offered a three-year, $40 Million deal from the Cavs but turned it down, feeling it was a lowball offer. If another team offers Sexton a contract, Cleveland can still match it. Many unrestricted free agents remain available, most veterans. Carmelo Anthony has still not signed with a team after a solid season with the Lakers. Golden State Warriors forward Andre Iguodala has not decided his future yet, even though the Warriors are saving the last roster spot for him. 2020 sixth man of the year Montrezl Harrell has not signed with a team after spending time in both Washington and Charlotte this past season. Centers DeMarcus Cousins, Tristan Thompson, Dwight Howard, and LaMarcus Aldridge have not signed yet and they could provide backup minutes for several teams. There are nearly 50 guards still available including Isaiah Thomas, Rajon Rondo, Lou Williams, and Dennis Schroder. Thomas has struggled to sign with a team the last handful of seasons while Schroder turned down a deal from the Lakers before for the beginning of last season and hasn’t found a similar deal since. With many teams close to filling their rosters, many of these veteran free agents may pop up during the season on short contracts.
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