The Nets will likely be without Kevin Durant on Christmas Day against the Lakers but “anything’s possible,” said Steve Nash.
However, James Harden will be available— and play.
After the Nets' Christmas Eve practice Friday morning, Steve Nash said DeAndre’ Bembry was currently the only player out of the 10 quarantined Nets (now nine) to test out of the league’s health and safety protocols.
Later Friday, the Nets announced that two more Nets — Bruce Brown and James Johnson — had also cleared protocols and will be available on Christmas.
Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving both remain in protocols and when Nash was asked whether there’s a possibility either can join the team in LA, the Nets head coach ruled Irving out but said Durant’s status remains in the air.
“He’s still in protocols and he needs ramp-up so we won’t see Kyrie [Irving] on this trip,” Nash said
As for Durant, it seems the Nets' only hope is that the NBA and NBPA agree to a change that would reduce the 10-day quarantine period to seven days. KD entered protocols on December 18.
“I honestly don’t know what the rule change will be or how it will affect us. I guess anything is possible and we’ll see when the time comes. Right now, I can’t answer that.”
Although seven players — Durant, along with Irving, LaMarcus Aldridge, Day’Ron Sharpe, Cam Thomas, David Duke Jr., and Kessler Edwards — remain in protocols, the Nets head coach said Bembry is available and Nic Claxton (left wrist) is on track to play Christmas.
“Nobody’s gone into protocols. DeAndre’ Bembry has come out of protocols and Nic [Claxton] should be ready to go tomorrow,” Nash said.
Harden, who tested out of protocols Thursday, and Blake Griffin, who banged up his knee in Saturday’s loss to the Magic will be available for Brooklyn as well. The Nets head coach didn’t mention any restrictions on either player.
“I think Blake’s knee is better. He’s fine and James [Harden] will play tomorrow,” the Nets head coach said.
In talking to the media, Bembry laid out what it’s like trying to keep in shape while stuck at home. Bembry, who hasn’t played since Dec. 12 against the Pistons said he had equipment at home to help him stay in NBA shape. The 6’5” forward had a foam roller, a stationary bike, and some dumbells to utilize. The 27-year-old added he didn’t have many symptoms and felt good throughout quarantine.
“Luckily, I had a little bit of workout gear with me. That was about it. I had a foam roll as well. I wasn’t able to do too much. Just get a home workout and stay isolated from everyone, so wasn’t able to do too much,” said Bembry staying in shape while in quarantine. “Just did a little light lift and some conditioning.”
Bembry, who is close with Irving — both St. Patrick High School alums — said the players haven’t seen much of the Nets superstar since he’s on the league’s protocols. He added he doesn’t know much about Irving’s situation and his teammates haven’t practiced with him since the front office’s initial decision to have him away from the team.
“For the most part, we haven’t been able to really practice with him since early on,” Bembry said. “He’s still in the protocols, so we haven’t really got to see him too much, to be honest. For the most part, we have no idea what’s going on. Obviously, a lot of stuff went public with him being able to come back now but for the most part, we still haven’t been able to see too much of him at the moment. It’s more so him taking care of his body and getting those negative tests in. That’s all we know.”
Brooklyn’s Christmas Eve practice included some one-on-one work between players and coaches to pair with technical work and some conditioning. Nash said the team has only been able to do some one-on-one work with the players before Friday’s practice due to league protocols.
One of the available 11 Nets to practice Friday morning, Patty Mills said Harden is looking sharp and is ready to go. That goes for his play … and his braided hair. His hair, Mills intimidated, was perfect.
“Yes, he was here and he did practice. What did he look like? His hair was freshly braided and looked very cream and crispy,” Mills joked. “From what I see, he’s raring and ready to go.”
Despite some silver lining of having tested bodies, Brooklyn hasn’t fully lucked out with testing. Bembry went into the league’s health and safety protocols on December 14, the other players that also went into protocols on the same date — LaMarcus Aldridge, Bruce Brown and James Johnson — have yet to test out. Nash added it’s possible if any of the players on protocols test out, a second flight to LA ahead of the Clippers game Monday is possible.
The first flight will head out to Los Angeles later Friday with their available players on board. The Nets head coach plans to chart, then navigate his game plan before and during the game.
“We just do the best we can. We got a lot of guys coming off an extended break. Nobody’s in great condition so we have to manage the group, try to be as competitive as possible and at the same time, be careful,” Nash said. “Guys coming out and playing a game after an absence like this is tricky. We’ll do what we can. A lot of these decisions are still to be made before the game, during the game, as the game goes on so we just have to be very fluid, adaptable and take it as a great opportunity.”
- Kevin Durant will officially miss Nets Christmas clash with Lakers - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- COVID outbreak leaves NBA’s ‘important’ Christmas Day slate without top stars - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Brooklyn Nets to get James Harden back for Christmas matchup against Los Angeles Lakers - Ohm Youngmisuk - ESPN
- ‘You get snatched real quick’: How omicron variant hit the Nets locker room - Kristian Winfield - New York Daily News
- Nets will have 11 players available to face Lakers on Christmas Day - Greg Logan - Newsday
- N.B.A. Christmas Day Games: What to Know - Scott Cacciola, Sopan Deb & Tania Ganguli - New York Times
- NBA on Christmas odds, picks, betting guide: Warriors at Suns highlights five-game schedule that includes Nets at Lakers, Mavericks at Jazz - The Athletic
- Steve Nash updates Nets’ available players for Christmas game at Lakers, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving out - Garrett Stepien - SNY
- Nets’ Kevin Durant won’t play vs. Lakers on Christmas due to COVID-19 protocols - Jack Maloney - CBS Sports