Kevin Durant will need to quarantine for seven days after the NBA’s contact tracing initiative revealed that he has been exposed to COVID-19, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania. Durant already had COVID-19 early in the outbreak. He has tested negative and still has antibodies according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, but the league’s rules do not distinguish between players that have had COVID and those that have not.
The Nets, 3-4 and already without Spencer Dinwiddie due to a torn ACL, will play four games in the next seven days, hosting the Utah Jazz and Philadelphia 76ers before taking a one-game road trip to Memphis and returning home for a date with the Oklahoma City Thunder. He would then be eligible to return on Dec. 12 against the Denver Nuggets. Durant’s absence will only push them further down the Eastern Conference standings.
Without Durant, the Nets will have to rely even more on Kyrie Irving and Caris LeVert to create shots for the rest of the team. Fortunately, the Nets should expect some positive shooting regression to give them a boost. They are currently ranked No. 25 in the NBA shooting 34.3 percent on 3-pointers, which is unlikely to last given their talent.
Durant was always going to miss games this season. It was an inevitability given his health after a torn Achilles tendon, and the Nets had already planned to rest him during back-to-backs. But this four-game stretch without him will be brutal for a Nets team still finding its way. Durant will return at full strength in a week, but this is time the Nets aren’t getting back as they attempt to coalesce into a championship team.