The roster is, as of Friday morning, still not set. There’s one more spot to fill. The Nets say they aren’t planning on Kevin Durant’s return this season ... but of course plans change and Sean Marks has praised the intensity of his rehab. And Kyrie Irving has a facial fracture suffered in a scrimmage Tuesday. Will he wear a mask to Media Day?
For fans of the Nets, this is what they have waited for since Durant, Irving and DeAndre Jordan agreed to their mega-contracts. It’s no longer off-season. It’s preseason and at some point after 11 a.m., if they’re watching YES, they will see those three walk across the floor at HSS Training Center for the first time in black-and-white.
Shock of the new, baby.
All the players, all 20 of them, are expected to be on hand at HSS Training Center in Sunset Park. And since the Nets open camp early, to help prepare for their China trip next weekend, the New York stage will be theirs, exclusively.
Sean Marks, the architect of the Nets master plan, tried a bit to say things haven’t changed that much, but even he knows they have. You don’t add three players with three championship rings, three Olympic gold medals, three FIBA World Cup golds, 14 All-NBA honors two Finals MVP’s, one World Cup MVP and 257 playoff games without anticipation.
“Nothing’s changed just because you have star-level talent. Nothing’s changed in this city. If you don’t compete, if you don’t play at a high level, it’s just probably not going to work. … What [coach] Kenny [Atkinson] and I have said from Day 1 is we’re pretty demanding of the guys, the expectations, and these guys demand that of each other.”
“This is now a challenge for everybody here. Everybody’s been around and has been driving this culture together. This is not one or two guys, it’s an army.”
The roster has changed dramatically not just with the three big additions. There will be at least one rookie, veterans like Garrett Temple, players trying to shine on the big stage like Taurean Prince. There could even be three Knicks from last year’s team if Lance Thomas gets signed Friday morning. Players expectations, Marks said Tuesday, are greater than the fans’.
“Their expectations are — my guess would be — pretty high. I don’t know that all the guys we signed in the offseason are coming here for mediocrity,” Marks said. “This is why we went in. That’s why ownership showed the ability to get behind us, and support the vision we’ve outlined.”
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