The Nets' chances of missing the playoffs have increased as Spencer Dinwiddie and DeAndre Jordan tested positive for COVID-19.
Jordan ruled out the Orlando reboot while Dinwiddie left the door open. It all leaves the Nets in ruins as they seek to fly to Orlando on July 7.
If this kind of spread continues, it's not too early to wonder if the NBA's elaborate Disney World bubble plan will make the playoffs.
Seventh in the Eastern Conference, the Nets are already missing Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving entering the eight-game regular season restart, with the reopening scheduled for July 31 against Orlando.
Dinwiddie broke the news to The Athletic. Hours later, Jordan tweeted his diagnosis. They both believe they caught the virus since the NBA's mandated return to Brooklyn.
Four networks tested positive shortly after the club's regular season stopped on March 11. It is unclear if Dinwiddie had interacted with Jordan or other networks since he contracted the virus. Durant is only known to have contracted the virus prior to the Dinwiddie / Jordan disclosures.
Jordan tweeted: "I found out last night and confirmed again today that I tested positive for Covid while returning to the market. As a result of this, I will not be in Orlando for the resumption of the season."
Dinwiddie had hoped that the Nets would meet first in Orlando because New York City had been a hot spot. But Dinwiddie flew to New York recently for individual training and has just received his diagnosis.
The nets are falling like flies. On Sunday, Wilson Chandler, a backup defensive specialist, withdrew from the restart for fear of contracting the virus. The team will also be without great rookie man Nic Claxton, who is out after shoulder surgery.
Ironically, Jordan was pushed into the starting lineup when Jacques Vaughn took over as acting coach of fired Kenny Atkinson in early March. Jordan helped organize Durant and Irving's signing with the Nets, and Atkinson's decision to keep the veteran on the bench could have cost him his job.
With their roster exhausted, the Nets recently signed guard Tyler Johnson (who played 31 games this season for the Suns, averaging 5.7 points), and reportedly also signed wing Justin Anderson. The 26-year-old played three games this season for Brooklyn.
In addition to Johnson and Anderson, the Nets may need to sign another guard and possibly center to make sure they have enough depth, especially since they may have even more positive cases.
"In the past few months, I have been diligent in protecting myself and others from COVID-19 by following all designated protocols and quarantining," said Dinwiddie. “I was ready and prepared to meet with my teammates as we were going to be an early entry team on the season restart. I flew privately to return to New York, passed several COVID-19 tests during my first days in New York, and was able to participate in a couple of practices during the first week.
“Originally, we were supposed to be one of the teams that would go into the Orlando bubble early, but training camp returned to New York and unfortunately I'm positive now. Given that I have experienced symptoms such as fever and chest tightness, it is unclear whether I will be able to participate in Orlando or not.
"Hindsight is 20/20."
Dinwiddie will be reevaluated in 14 days. Without Irving, Dinwiddie has grown big. In fact, the Nets have a better record without Irving.
In 64 games, Dinwiddie averaged 20.6 points, 6.8 assists and 3.5 rebounds. The Nets lead Orlando by half a game. If they drop to eighth place after the eight-game restart, they could be forced to play a game against No. 9 Washington if the Wizards are within four games.
The play-in format would require Washington to win twice, while the Nets would only have to win once. Losing the playoffs would not be the worst case scenario for Brooklyn.
If they fall short, the Nets would regain their lost Minnesota lottery pick in the Allan Crabbe trade. The Nets would give Minnesota their first-round pick next season when they are expected to be an Eastern powerhouse with Durant's return.