Two of the Nets three stashes will be in action over the next couple of weeks as European leagues and FIBA World Cup Qualifiers get underway. For one of the two, it will be a big deal.
Isaia Cordinier, the 6’5” French point guard acquired in the Jeremy Lin trade with Atlanta, may see his first action in a year this weekend as his team, the Antibes Sharks, opens preseason play. It’s not certain Cordinier will play but he’s been practicing after spending the last eight months rehabbing from double knee surgery.
Although Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted the day of the trade “you’ll probably never see him,” Sam Vecenie of The Athletic wrote, “given that he’s only 21 years old and the Nets didn’t have to acquire him for this trade to go through. I’d imagine that they see him as something of an asset.”
The key is whether the surgery corrected Cordinier’s tendinitis, which had troubled him from the time he was drafted at No. 44 —two spots behind another Isaiah, Whitehead— in 2016. Cordinier, as Draft Express reported, had tried to correct the tendinitis short of surgery, but ultimately decided to go for the knife.
The tendinitis, of course, hurt his athleticism which as Draft Express noted in 2016 is his greatest asset.
Antibes is an ideal development situation for Cordinier. His coach, Julien Espinosa, is seen as one of the rising stars in European basketball. So much so that two years ago, the Nets brought him in to help with Summer League duties.
On Friday, the Sharks play Pau Orthez, then again on Saturday. Even if he doesn’t play this weekend, his rehab is close to an end.
Meanwhile, Aleksandar Vezenkov, the 6’9” forward taken at No. 57 in 2017, will take a break from training with his new team, Olympiacos, to play for Bulgaria in the FIBA Europe World Cup Qualfiers. It’s a two-game set against France on September 13 and Russia (with Timofey Mozgov) three days later. The Bulgarians must win both to move on.
One reason Olympiacos agreed to let Vezenkov take time off is that he had spent a good part of the summer working out in Orlando with his personal trainer, improving his strength.
Things are not going so well for the Nets third stash, Juan Pablo Vaulet was brought to Las Vegas last month but couldn’t play because of a recurring ankle injury He is not likely to play for Argentina in the FIBA Americas Quallfiers which also take place in mid-September.
In a podcast this week with his brother Santiago, JPV said that injuries he’s suffered have allowed him to understand what he did wrong to get injured. He has said that after Las Vegas, Nets doctors advised him to rest the ankle as much as he can.
So, expect the first Nets (-related) basketball in September.