Celtics Talk Podcast: What will Nets be with Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving healthy?

Celtics Talk Podcast: What will Nets be with Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving healthy?

The addition of Kevin Durant and former Celtic Kyrie Irving made the Brooklyn Nets instant contenders in the eyes of many. 

Injuries to both players severely limited their on-the-floor impact, but adding them to the Brooklyn mix clearly made them a different team.

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And it’s that change in DNA that even with the season on pause, makes one wonder just how good the new-look Brooklyn Nets will be when their two stars are up and running again. 

“I don’t want to say it was just necessarily Kyrie, but it was clearly a shift,” Nets beat writer Brian Lewis of the New York Post said on the Celtics Talk Podcast on Wednesday. “They went from being … Brooklyn Grit to the day on June 30 when you brought those two in, to Brooklyn Glitz. It’s a whole different thing; a whole paradigm shift.”

And the Nets of the present and future are both of great interest to the Boston Celtics.

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For starters, they are in the Eastern Conference and if Boston plans to bring home Banner 18 one day, chances are they will have to go through Brooklyn at some point to do so. 

If the NBA season were to resume and go straight to the playoffs, these two teams could potentially meet in the second round of the playoffs with Boston currently riding the third-best record in the East. 

And then there’s the Irving factor. 

For an assortment of reasons, the former Celtic did not play in any of the three games between Boston and Brooklyn this season. 

And if these two were to meet in the playoffs, chances are high that the Nets would continue to keep him sidelined since he underwent surgery on March 3 to repair a right shoulder impingement that was expected to keep him out for the remainder of the season.

He would then likely join Durant who was still on the mend following an Achilles tendon injury suffered in Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals when he played for the Golden State Warriors.

With all the season being pushed back, is there a chance we could see either if the season resumes and there’s a postseason?

“I think there’s less than a 50 percent chance you’ll see Kyrie or KD playing (in the postseason),” Lewis said. “I think you’ll see the Nets that we saw at the end of the season.”

Whether it’s Irving sprinting up court or on the sideline in a suit, a return to the floor against the Celtics in any capacity would be must-see basketball. 

And if for no other reason than to see him play against Kemba Walker, a matchup Irving recently said he would love to have.

“Me and K-Walk (Walker); I want that matchup,” Irving said. “Me and K-Walk; that’s my matchup. I want K-Walk.  That’s my big bro; I want K-Walk. You know we got mutual respect, but I know everybody wants to see, out of New York (Walker is from the Bronx), out of New Jersey (Irving grew up in West Orange, N.J.); every time we play against each other, it’s always a game. … back and forth.”

Here's why Boston athletes will benefit from time off amid coronavirus outbreak

Here's why Boston athletes will benefit from time off amid coronavirus outbreak

The COVID-19 outbreak is extremely serious with the NBA, NHL, MLS, and MLB suspending their seasons for player, staff and fan safety.

But, the professional athletes in Boston will highly benefit from the time off -- especially with the Stanley Cup Playoffs and NBA postseason right around the corner. 

There's no hard timetable for any of the leagues listed above to resume play, but with that in question, let's take a look at each team's current situation and how they vary. 

Boston Celtics

The NBA was the first professional league to suspend its season following the news that Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert (and later Donovan Mitchell) tested positive for the coronavirus. The Celtics played the Jazz twice in the span of 10 days, and are now self-quarantining on the NBA's recommendation. 

Here's where the C's stand during the NBA's postponement of the season:

  • 43-21 record.
  • 5-5 in their last 10 games.
  • Third place in the Eastern Conference. 

The Celtics were struggling over the course of the past couple weeks. They lost four of their last six games, with their two wins coming against the fifth-place Indiana Pacers and last place Cleveland Cavaliers. 

Their struggles were due in part to their inability to close out games, but they also dealt with injuries to key players like Jaylen Brown and Kemba Walker. So, Boston obviously could use the rest in order to nurse some of their players back to health. 

Brown missed four straight games thanks to a hamstring strain, while Walker has been limited at times due to his ongoing knee issues. 

With this extended period of rest, the C's should hopefully be fully healthy and geared up for the final stretch, as well as the playoffs, when the NBA season resumes.

However, if the NBA does extend the season, this could allow the injured Kevin Durant to return for the Brooklyn Nets this season. With the Nets being a possible playoff matchup for the C's, it wouldn't exactly be ideal for Boston if he was to return. 

Boston Bruins

The NHL was one of the last professional leagues to suspend play following the coronavirus outbreak.

While none of the league's players have been confirmed to have COVID-19, it still was the right decision by Gary Bettman and NHL officials to postpone the remainder of the season. 

Here's where the B's stand during the NHL's postponement of the season:

  • 44-14-12 record (100 points).
  • 7-3-0 in their last 10 games. 
  • First place in the Atlantic Division, Eastern Conference, and NHL.

The B's are in the midst of one of their best regular seasons in franchise history. 

Tuukka Rask leads all goaltenders with a 2.12 goals-against average and a .929 save percentage, while David Pastrnak is tied with Alex Ovechkin for the lead-league in goals with 48. Torey Krug also ranks eighth among defensemen with 49 points and sixth with 40 assists. 

Krug, like many of his B's teammates, is having a stellar season, but he missed Boston's last game versus the Philadelphia Flyers due to an upper-body injury. Brandon Carlo has also missed time with an upper-body injury after being on the receiving end of an elbow to the head from Florida Panthers forward Evgenii Dadonov. 

So, although the B's are rolling, they'll 100 percent benefit from the time off. Players will have the time to heal properly, and for a team that made it to the Stanley Cup Final last season, the time off is always going to appreciated -- no matter the unfortunate circumstances. 

That said, this will give Steven Stamkos time to return to action if the NHL regular season resumes in the coming months -- making for a more difficult matchup for the B's in a potential meeting with the Tampa Bay Lightning in the playoffs. 

Boston Red Sox

The MLB announced the remainder of Spring Training games will be canceled, and the start of the regular season has been delayed at least two weeks. 

Since they may not be too good this year, some fans aren't too upset by the delay in the Red Sox's season. After dealing Mookie Betts and David Price to the Los Angeles Dodgers, and also losing Brock Holt to the Milwaukee Brewers, not many are confident in the 2020 Red Sox. 

Here's how the Sox ended Spring Training: 

  • 9-10 Spring Training record with two ties. 
  • Notable losses to the New York Yankees and Houston Astros. 

Of course, Spring Training is only to get the players up to speed for the regular season, but the Sox didn't look too good regardless -- and their farm system ranks 25th in the league, which isn't too hot. 

In the Betts trade, the Red Sox received Alex Verdugo, who is dealing with a back injury and isn't expected to be ready in time for the start of the season with no clear timetable on a return. However, maybe with some extended rest and rehab time, Verdugo could possibly be ready for the season. 

On the pitching side of things, Chris Sale has a flexor strain after throwing a bullpen session at the beginning of the month. Although he doesn't need surgery, he still is unable to workout and, according to the Red Sox, he'll be reevaluated in the coming weeks. 

Like Verdugo, Sale could highly benefit from the extended period of time off. 

New England Revolution

Like the other professional leagues, the MLS also decided to suspend its season after just two weeks of action.

With the Revolution set to reach new heights under head coach Bruce Arena this season, it was rather disappointing to hear their season has been postponed. 

Here's where the Revs stand during the MLS postponement:

  • 0-1-1 record (one point)
  • Eighth place in Eastern Conference. 

The Revs should have won their second game of the season against Chicago Fire FC, but failed to capitalize on plenty of scoring opportunities. With Carles Gil still dealing with a foot injury, the suspension of the MLS season works in New England's favor. 

Gil has missed both of the Revolution's games this season and wasn't sure he'd be ready for Week 3 against the Portland Timbers on Sunday. With no timetable for the return of the season, Gil should have plenty of time to rest up and recover ahead of their next match. 

With Adam Buksa, Teal Bunbury and Gustavo Bou currently carrying the load on the attack, Gil should be a nice addition once he's able to return. 

NBA Rumors: Did Kyrie Irving have a hand in Nets coach Kenny Atkinson's surprise departure?

NBA Rumors: Did Kyrie Irving have a hand in Nets coach Kenny Atkinson's surprise departure?

Five days ago, Kenny Atkinson coached a Brooklyn Nets team without Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant to a stirring, come-from-behind, overtime victory over the Celtics at the TD Garden. He had steered Brooklyn to the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference and if the C's could move up to the No. 2 seed, the Nets would be back at the Garden for Game 1 of their first-round playoff series. 

They'll be in the playoffs without Atkinson, who was shown the door by Brooklyn on Saturday after four years as coach. They have "mutually agreed to part ways," the team said in a statement.

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With the surprise move came immediate speculation that Irving, now out for the season after he was limited to 20 games by a shoulder injury in his first season in Brooklyn following his stormy tenure in Boston, and Durant, out all season with a torn Achilles' after joining his friend Irving as a Nets free-agent signee, were somehow behind the departure.
 

Irving let it be known earlier this season what he thought of the current Nets roster.

Fresh off his stint as an analyst on the Celtics-Jazz telecast on Friday, former C's big man Kendrick Perkins - remember, both he and his stomach are no fan of Irving - tweeted that the Nets had done Atkinson a favor.

Look for Atkinson to resurface as an NBA head coach - in perhaps a much healthier situation? - soon, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.


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