Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Spencer Dinwiddie, DeAndre Jordan, Taurean Prince, Wilson Chandler, Michael Beasly, and Nicholas Claxton - that's over 50% of the Nets roster not participating in the season restart in Orlando. In salary cap terms, 80% of the Nets team won't be attending. Here's their current roster for the bubble.
- Joe Harris, $7.6 million
- Garret Temple, $4.7 million
- Caris LeVert, $2.6 million
- Jarret Allen, $2.3 million
- Džanan Musa, $1.9 million
- Rodion Kurucs, $1.7 million
- Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot. $650k
- Jamal Crawford, $290k
- Tyler Johnson, $210k
The Nets went from "maybe KD and Kyrie could come back" to probably activating their two-way guys and then some. Granted, LeVert and Allen are significantly underpaid being on their rookie-scale contracts. But still, not exactly a roster teams are hoping to avoid in the playoffs. There was a brief moment when KD, Kyrie, and Dinwiddie announced they wouldn't be participating in Orlando that where we all believed Washington has a realistic shot of making the playoffs.
Then we learned Bradley Beal also bowed out, and those illusions went away. So the only question is, will the Nets be the 7th or 8th seed, fighting for position with the Magic. According to Shaquille O'Neal, it doesn't matter - the Nets are winning their first-round playoff series.
You heard it here first - because there's no home-court advantage and they are playing in a ballroom - Brooklyn will advance to the second round.
Shaquille O'Neal, NBA on TNT
If you started laughing after reading this, you are not alone. Candance Parker, Vince Carter, and Dwyane Wade laughed too. VC immediately asked Shaq, who are they beating in the first round? The Nets seem destined for the 7th or 8th slot, meaning they would play one of the top two teams in the standings - Milwaukee or Toronto. Shaq's answer to "who to they beat in the 1st round" wasn't persuasive.
Whoever they playing, because they're playing in a damn ballroom. No fans. There's walls right there; you can go like that [stretch your arm], and touch the wall.
Shaquille O'Neal, NBA on TNT
First thing's first - the games will not be played in ballrooms. Teams are practicing in hotel ballrooms, but there are three arenas that will be used for the actual games. Secondly, Shaq never really explained why does he think no home court favors the Nets. Let's just say the Barkley Center isn't known as one of the loudest arenas in the NBA.
Most importantly - whether it's in a ballroom, Rucker Park, or an NBA arena - the Bucks or the Raptors (or even the Celtics if they manage to overtake the Raptors in the standings) are not losing to this Brooklyn Nets in a seven-game series. I'm not even sure if Giannis or Siakam would have to play more than 35 minutes per game.
But I'm not convinced Shaq truly believes what he said either. This is one of those "if I'm wrong, people laugh for a moment; if I'm right, I'll talk about this for eternity."