In six days, the Nets’ crazy summer suddenly turned very real. Wilson Chandler was suspended for 25 games —a third of the season, then Rodions Kurucs was arrested for domestic assault which could lead to another suspension ... if not worse.
The fact that both play the Nets shallowest position, power forward, is leading to a number of writers to suggest that Sean Marks should at least consider signing Carmelo Anthony ... or even Joe Johnson. Both played minutes at the 4 during their long careers (although both preferred the 3).
As Brian Lewis writes Friday...
Kevin Durant’s Achilles will sideline the star most if not all of this season, leaving Rodions Kurucs or Taurean Prince to try to fill the huge KD-sized void in the starting lineup. But now Prince is the last man standing to fill that starter’s spot — and doesn’t have an experienced backup — after Wilson Chandler got suspended Aug. 29 for PEDs and Kurucs finds himself facing suspension for alleged behavior of a far worse sort.
Sean Marks, as he always does, has kept his counsel on what happens next. And to be quite frank in Kurucs’ case, he doesn’t know. (Interestingly, while the Nets have made a statement on Kurucs’ arrest, they have said nothing about Chandler’s suspension.)
Still, both Frank Isola and David Aldridge think that the situation is likely to make the possibility of signing Melo even more likely than it had been. As first Anthony Puccio and Ian Begley reported and Isola confirmed, Nets players have been working out with the 35-year-old former Knick and reportedly lobbying Marks to sign him.
Isola wrote Thursday that one thing is likely. The Nets will do something.
The Nets will likely make a move with Chandler suspended 25 games and Durant out. Finding bench scoring won’t be a problem. The challenge is continuing to gradually improve and keep the locker room on the same page until Durant is ready to play.
Aldridge goes into just how deeply KD feels about Melo, noting the two played high school ball in the Baltimore-Washington corridor ... and Durant relied a lot on Anthony when he was a young player in the NBA. Back in 2016, he spoke to Aldridge about Melo...
“That’s my guy. I’ve looked up to Carmelo since I was 15 years old. I wanted to be Carmelo. And once I got the opportunity to hang around him and get to know him a little deeper, coming into the Draft, I asked him for advice here and there, and it just made things, it made the relationship even smoother.
“Coming from the same area—not close—he could tell that I wanted to reach out to him, and he wanted to reach out to me. Once we did it, it was just organic and smooth, and he’s been a real friend ever since.”
And of course, last week, Melo described Durant, Kyrie Irving and DeAndre Jordan — his three teammates on the 2016 Olympic team as “family.”
Aldridge also notes that Durant —or Johnson— could bring their iso game to Brooklyn without disturbing Kenny Atkinson’s overall scheme.
I didn’t realize how much the Nets iso-ed Spencer Dinwiddie last season; per NBA.com, he was fifth-highest in the league in frequency of isolation plays (22.5 percent) and was in the fourth-highest percentile (84.1) of isos. So it’s not like it’s not in Kenny Atkinson’s playbook. Kyrie Irving may well get the lion’s share of those looks from Dinwiddie going forward, but Anthony could help here, at least until Durant returns.
Of course, no one knows if either player is interested in the Nets or who else might offer them a deal. The Clippers and Lakers reportedly have interest in Anthony and the 76ers, Pistons, Bucks ... and Nets either have or will soon work out the 38-year-old.
There are other, less alluring, possibilities. The Nets could give Nicolas Claxton or two-way signee Henry Ellenson more minutes than they planned ... or do something completely unexpected.
- Nets’ sudden forward shortage could open door for Carmelo Anthony - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- At this point, there’s no place like (any) home for Carmelo Anthony - David Aldridge - The Athletic NBA
- After once-in-a-lifetime summer for the Nets, trouble is now brewing - Frank Isola - The Athletic NBA
- Carmelo Anthony Camp ‘Aggressively’ Fighting Perceptions, Sources Say - Sean Deveney - Heavy.com