Kevin Durant may not be playing in the NBA All-Star Game, but that won’t stop him from picking and captaining the team.
The Brooklyn star’s hamstring strain has him ruled out until after the All-Star break, meaning Durant won’t play in the March 7 event. But after being the top vote-getter in the Eastern Conference, he’ll still select a roster for Team Durant out of the pool of players. The All-Star draft airs March 4 on TNT.
Kyrie Irving and James Harden joined Durant in giving the Nets three NBA All-Stars for the first time in their history, though it’s uncertain if Durant will actually make the trip to Atlanta.
Durant is averaging 29.0 points, 7.3 boards and 5.3 assists, but missed his seventh straight game Saturday night against Dallas and will sit out the Nets’ final two road games of the first half, Monday at San Antonio and Wednesday in Houston.
“You just try to encourage him,” Joe Harris said of Durant. “Obviously, it’s tough not having him, but it’s tougher on Kevin because he just likes to play so much.
“He loves the game and he just wants to be out competing and playing with guys, especially after being out for a full year. He’s had a lot of ups and downs, whether it’s COVID protocol and now the injury. You just try to encourage him and make sure that he’s doing all right in that regard.”
Boston’s Jayson Tatum was bumped up to a starter, while Indiana’s Domantas Sabonis replaced Durant on the Eastern Conference roster.
Harris is on pace for a historic shooting year himself. He came into Saturday hitting 53.4 percent overall and 50.9 from 3-point range. No player has ever shot 50 and 50 while attempting at least five or more 3s.
As a result, Harris has skyrocketed up the NBA’s all-time charts. He came into the season ranked 11th in all-time 3-point percentage, and now has passed seven players to sit fourth at 43.7.
With the trade deadline a month away, the Nets are believed to be at least quietly gauging Spencer Dinwiddie’s value. SNY reported the Pistons — who drafted then dumped Dinwiddie — have interest in the injured guard.
The Nets are encouraged by the skills and pick-and-roll ability Reggie Perry has shown in the G-League, and are convinced he can eventually hit the 3. The next step is — in addition to developing all those — to “defend at an improved and accelerated rate,” according to Nash.
How much Nets owner Joe Tsai paid for the Liberty back in 2019 was never disclosed. But sports bankers estimate it was in the $10 million to $14 million range according to CNBC.