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With three substitutes, Nets can go in several directions

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Eastern Conference Semifinals - Philadelphia 76ers v Toronto Raptors Photo by Mark Blinch/NBAE via Getty Images

This story is perishable. It may not be relevant for long as the Nets scramble to find substitutes for three players declared out of the Orlando “bubble” because of positive coronavirus tests.

The Nets are likely fill all three spots— plus formally sign Justin Anderson— as soon as possible. All three will have to be flown separately into Orlando and quarantine for longer than those who flew to Orlando on Tuesday. That will take valuable time away from practice. The Nets open their eight-game seeding schedule on July 31. They currently have 11 healthy players ... if you count Anderson.

The most efficient scenario would be for the Nets to sign players off the Long Island Nets roster, assuming all are in shape after the G League’s own shutdown. Long Island’s players know the system, know the culture, know the staff and know the players already. They won’t need a playbook and introductions to the assistant coaches. Anderson, it should be noted, is an example of that thinking. He played for both Long Island and Brooklyn.

Likely candidates among the Long Islanders probably start with 6’11”, 265 pound center/forward John Egbunu, an athletic Florida product. Egbunu played 25 games, starting three, and averaged 10.3 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in only 18 minutes. The 25-year-old Nigerian-born player spent time with the Nets in training camp. Egbunu, like Jordan, is an athlete and well-built. He has, however, had injury issues going back to his time at Florida where he teamed with Chris Chiozza.

Another possibility is Devin Cannady, a 6’3” shooting guard who also participated in Nets training camp. The (recent) Princeton graduate averaged 14.4 points for Long Island, along with 3.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists with shooting splits of 41/36/91. Physically strong, Cannady has deep range and can score in bursts with a sharpshooters rhythm.

If the Nets are looking for frontcourt help specifically, Jonathan Kasibubu is a 6’8”, 240-pound power forward who can man the 5 on occasion. He started 26 out of 36 games for Long Island, averaging 7.6 points and 6.2 rebounds in 26 minutes a game. Signed after Brooklyn training camp, he has a little range, hitting 31 percent of his attempts in a small sample. The Congolese native’s forte is defense.

There are other possibilities as well led by Jaylen Hands, the 6’3” point guard taken late in the second round of last year’s Draft, has been working out, adding 15 pounds to his frame. The 21-year-old UCLA product’s Nets prospects are unclear. He not only got time in training camp and summer league, but he hung out last summer with a number of Nets in California. He averaged 11.3 points and 3.5 assists mainly coming off the bench In Long Island. He had shooting splits of 42/35/89.

If the Nets decide against giving their G Leaguers a shot, the Nets could go in two other directions. And with three opportunities, they could mix it up, a couple of G Leaguers for evaluation purposes and a vet, for example, or vice-versa.

One possibility is bringing in more of veteran leadership. It was reported Tuesday that Amir Johnson, the 6’9” journeyman power forward and Lance Thomas, the 6’8” small forward and former Knick captain, have garnered Nets interest but that was before Spencer Dinwiddie and Taurean Prince were ruled out. Neither Johnson nor Thomas played this season and both are early 30’s, Johnson 33, Thomas 32. Thomas was in training camp with the Nets, traveled with the team to China before being cut. Iman Shumpert, who played 13 games for the Nets this season, would qualify here as well. No indication yet of any interest in 40-year-old Jamal Crawford who also sat out this season.

Then, there’s the long list of players without Nets connections. We outlined some names of bigs last week after Jordan went down. Dragan Bender, a young seven-footer with significant NBA experience, is available. So are G Leaguers like Christ Koumadje, the 7’4” G League Defensive Player of the Year, Simi Shittu and Donta Hall.

Beyond bigs, there are a few other possibilities with NBA experience out there, including point guards Tim Frazier and Trevon Duval on the younger side and vets like Isaiah Thomas and even Devin Harris, who’s now 36. Among shooting guards there’s Allen Crabbe, still only 28. He certainly knows the Nets. Who knows? Sean Marks has a history of surprising us. (And here’s a footnote: Neither Isaiah Hartenstein nor Allonzo Trier are even eligible for the bubble.)

There are restrictions on signing substitutes, primarily that the teams that sign them will not be able to ink them for any longer than the duration of the “bubble.” They’ll be unrestricted free agents come October. Also, they can only be paid a pro-rated salary based on a vets minimum. That salary does not count against the cap. And of course they’ll need to be tested and as we know, with the Nets, that can be fraught with problems.