Mar 2, 2019; Miami, FL, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard D'Angelo Russell (1) reacts during the second half against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)
Mar 2, 2019; Miami, FL, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard D'Angelo Russell (1) reacts during the second half against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)

"I'm gonna win that s--t. Watch. Put it on record. I'm gonna win it."

D'Angelo Russell beams with confidence as he firmly tells me that he's going to win the Most Improved Player Award. I mention a few names. He doesn't want to hear it. He's winning it.

"I'm telling you, I'm winning it!"

Russell just turned 23 years old and he's currently on top of the world. The former No. 2 overall pick is having the best year of his career, averaging 20.5 points and 6.7 assists on 37 percent shooting from three entering Monday's game -- all career-high's during a contract year. He just recently returned from All-Star Weekend and he's leading the Nets on an improbable run to the playoffs. 

Like Jay-Z says in "Otis," "I guess I got my swagger back!"

"It's all mental. This game, becoming great… it's all mental," Russell told SNY when asked about the difference in his game. "Diet and things like that -- things people don't see. It's something I had to learn when I got here. I was used to playing ball and letting things come to me. You come into this league and you know you got to work hard and get in the gym, but there's more to it. I think I've worked on some things and I know I'm not perfect. But I want to be great and a big part of that is the mental aspect. I've always been confident, but this is the most confident I've been in my career."

Russell was 19 years old when he was drafted by the Lakers. He was an afterthought during Kobe Bryant's farewell tour. Coaches spoke down on him to the media. He fell victim to an incident with Nick Young and then-fiancée Iggy Azalea. General Manager Magic Johnson said he needed a leader after trading Russell, then 21 years old.

It was all different types of things he had to deal with… and learn to let go. 

Ed Davis is a nine-year veteran who spent one year with the Lakers. Davis is one of the players closest to DLo, literally and figuratively. The two share neighboring lockers and talk about everything ranging from basketball to life.

Davis recalls the first time he really heard about him.

"So, me and him have the same agent. When I signed here, my agent talked to me from day one and was like, 'Man he's a good kid, he just needs a little guidance, somebody who's going to stay in his ear. You know, things like that. Then I talked to Evan Turner and he said the same thing, 'Just help him out. He can play, he just needs some guidance,'" Davis says. 

"You know all that s--t from the past… I haven't seen it. Either he's doing a great job of hiding it or a lot if it is just bulls--t. That happens a lot in this league. Me and him are tight and have a good relationship. All that stuff in the past… man, I don't know."

Davis had somewhat of a disappointed look on his face. It almost looked as if he felt his pain, understanding that his agent and Turner were both spot-on about Russell. 

"He was 19 years old, No. 2 overall pick, man. A lot of money is involved. There's gonna be some bumps and most of these teams are so quick to give up on a guy. Magic [Johnson] and [Rob] Pelinka are regretting that right now."

The incident with Young was more than NBA drama. It brought a new world into the discussions. Russell wasn't just in the LA Times. He was involved with Hollywood tabloids. 

I volunteer to say that kind of media becomes like TMZ. Not about basketball.

Davis subtly agrees and nods his head. He understands. 

"This is a much better situation even for myself. They treat you good around here, make sure you take care of your body and things like that. It's a place you want to be long-term."

As Davis reflects back, it's important to note that nobody on the Nets is looking back. It's more a talk of appreciation on how far the 23-year-old has come. Russell is hitting game-winning shots, he's leading the team to the playoffs and on top of all of that, he continues to get better.

In my sit-down with Russell, I explain John Schuhmann's recent finding on clutch plays and how Russell is two shots behind the league-leading Kawhi Leonard. The stat is measured by players who hit a shot to tie or take the lead in the last minute of the game. He's done it four times this season.

"Oh wow, for real? Y'all have some crazy stats," he says with a smile.

Russell points toward the ice in his veins when he hits a big shot, his signature gesture since the day he entered the league. It's a sign of his blatant confidence. 

"I'm a leader," Russell says. "I want to be put into those spots and now I'm earning more trust. That dude who came into the league with the ice in my veins … that's who I've always been. That's who I want to be and it's all part of the mental growth. I wasn't getting the ball late in games or really even playing at points, so to be out there and doing what I do, closing out games, it feels good. We're a playoff team, aren't we?"

Indeed. His reputation was tainted at such a young age, but Russell bought into Brooklyn's culture. He became a leader through his play and work ethic. Coaches started trusting him more along with his teammates. 

Now, he's an All-Star and Most Improved Player candidate.

"It wasn't an easy start here for him," 12-year veteran Jared Dudley says emphatically. "He was getting subbed in and out and had guys like Caris [LeVert] and Spencer [Dinwiddie] playing over him. He stuck with it and did the little things like watch film in the middle of the season. Kudos to him for everything… leading us to the six seed, hitting big shots and really becoming the leader of this team."

As Dudley alluded to, Russell hit a couple bumps early this season. He was often kept out of games in late situations and it was chalked up to "Sticking with the hot hand," according to head coach Kenny Atkinson. It was a mental test -- a test to see if he could handle adversity and buy into being a team player. Everything Brooklyn's about.

He explains a tweet he sent out a day after he led the Nets to their 10th victory in 13 games. Playoffs lingered. People speculated. Was it about it contract? Was it about the late-game benchings?

"I literally meant, you can only control what you can control," Russell says. "I think people overthought and looked too deep into what I said on Twitter," he explained. "I was just saying control what you can control, some things you can't. At the time, I didn't know why I wasn't [playing late in games]. It was out of my control. It just goes with everything in life. Don't let it get to you, work harder, buy into the little things that people can't see. I think that's why I struggled with consistency and certain things along those lines because there were still things I had to learn."

Russell wanted help. He sought advice not only from teammates, but from great players around the league. 

"Man, I shouldn't have said anything about talking to LeBron," he says. "It got blown out of proportion." 

Reports came out that Russell reached out to James about finding consistency and how to keep a level head. You know, those types of things that differentiate a good player and a great player. 

"He told me about the mental aspect of the game," Russell says about his conversation with James. "You have it, now go get it. It's all a mental test, getting through the season, playing 82 games and things like that. It's an adjustment, man. This is what the league is. I appreciated that from him."

Then, he lights up as he goes into brief detail about Dwyane Wade giving him advice at All-Star Weekend. Cameras caught Wade telling Russell, "You're one of the best in the league." 

"It kind of look staged, right? I don't believe in staging anything. It was all candid." Russell says. "Everything you see with me… it's real s--t. And talking with D-Wade was real. Talking to him like that, you appreciate any encouragement or advice especially from somebody like that… He told me to just stay at it, be great, love it."

The video cuts after Wade gives him one bit of advice: "Whatever you did to get here… Do more."

And he is. 

He bought into a promising culture and he believes in himself. The two go hand-in-hand. He credits the Nets for not only helping him develop, but for instilling structure and discipline in their infectious culture. He credits them for giving him a clean slate and letting him be himself.

"You hear the stories, but you never judge a man until you go, and you see him," Dudley says. "Look, my first impression with D'Angelo was that he was working his a-- off, being on the table, hitting the weight room… A lot of him buying in is Brooklyn… it's the culture. This is how it is here, and it goes beyond D'Angelo, it's Joe [Harris], Caris [LeVert], Jarrett [Allen]. Even when I got here, it was late, but they put you in the program and they're on you. We do a survey every night, 10 questions asking about your body and things like that. D'Angelo really took it serious."

Russell's improbable story has shown us that the facile, two-dimensional depiction of a young man as a professional athlete is often not what we should believe. Context is so important. His teammates learned who he was and helped him along the way.
 
… And look at what came from it: A leader.

Before the All-Star Break, the Nets and Cavs were in a tight overtime game. Collin Sexton laid home a bucket to tie the game with 2.8 seconds left. From the bench, Tristan Thompson did DLo's signature ice-in-veins gesture. 

Russell scored the final 14 points in triple overtime and put the Cavs out.

Then, in their second game following the break, Kemba Walker hit a three-pointer to give the Hornets an eight-point lead with 3:08 left in the game. Like Thompson, Miles Bridges was on the bench, doing Russell's signature gesture. He ended up scoring the final 12 points of the game and the eventual game-winner with less than 40 seconds left.

"Were they really mocking me or were the doing it to celebrate for their teammates?" Russell asks. "I don't know, I think the media overplayed that. I don't really think that was directed at me."

Fair enough. But in a weird way, the gestures sort of signified Russell's past with Los Angeles in the sense that people mocked him behind his back just for him to turn around and prove them wrong. After everything that happened in L.A., Russell left a toxic situation and has become a star. 

No mention of you-know-who. It's obvious enough.

"I guess you can look at it that way. My whole career people been doing things [behind by back] and proving them wrong is what I try to do. If they were mocking me then so be it," Russell says. "We got the win and that's what I'm here to help do… Get wins."

He points at my phone and reminds me one last time how he's going to win Most Improved Player.

"I don't care who else is on that list. I'm winning it, believe it."

Tags: Caris LeVert, D'Angelo Russell, Jarrett Allen
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Nov 10, 2019; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Caris LeVert (22) handles the ball against the Phoenix Suns in the first half at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports (Jennifer Stewart)
Nov 10, 2019; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Caris LeVert (22) handles the ball against the Phoenix Suns in the first half at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports (Jennifer Stewart)

The Nets will be without Caris LeVert against the Jazz in Utah on Tuesday.

The team announced that the shooting guard suffered a thumb sprain during Sunday's 138-112 loss to the Suns. LeVert took a fall in the game which is the presumed cause of the injury. 

LeVert logged 26 minutes in the contest and had his finger examined after the game. The 25-year-old told reporters that he had an X-ray on the injury following Sunday's game and then had an MRI on Monday. A short time later the team announced he'd sit out Tuesday. 

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 (Nicole Sweet)
(Nicole Sweet)

When the Nets signed Kevin Durant, they understood their 2019-20 season was likely to take place without the star forward.

But since Brooklyn (3-4) tipped off the NBA schedule two weeks ago, Durant has made some notable strides. 

As seen Wednesday by Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News, Durant worked out during the Nets' practice at the HSS Training Center, stepping into 15-foot shots.

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Nov 2, 2019; Detroit, MI, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) shoots on Detroit Pistons guard Bruce Brown (6) in the second half at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports (Rick Osentoski)
Nov 2, 2019; Detroit, MI, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) shoots on Detroit Pistons guard Bruce Brown (6) in the second half at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports (Rick Osentoski)

The Nets fell to the Pistons Saturday night in a game that saw them blow a 14-point lead in the third quarter, but the night wasn't all bad for their starting point guard, Kyrie Irving, who picked up his third career triple-double in the loss.

Irving, who just started his ninth season in the NBA, finished the game with 20 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists to notch the feat.

Interestingly enough, Irving now has one triple-double with each team he's played for, having gotten his first career triple-double with the Cavaliers back in 2014 (21 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists) and his second with the Celtics earlier this year in March (31 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists).

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Nets best potent Rockets 00:01:35
Head Coach Kenny Atkinson, Jarrett Allen and Kyrie Irving on the Nets big 123-116 win over the Rockets

With James Harden and Russell Westbrook in the backcourt, the Houston Rockets feature one of the most potent offenses in the NBA.

But the Nets were able to come away with a 123-116 win over Houston on Friday night in Brooklyn, and according to head coach Kenny Atkinson, the team's defense, specifically in the third quarter, was the difference in the game.

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Nets still building chemistry 00:01:15
Brooklyn Nets players Spencer Dinwiddie, Caris LeVert, Joe Harris + Jarrett Allen are aware of slow start but see improvement in chemistry.

The Nets have had a slow start to their highly anticipated 2019-20 season, going 1-3 so far this year.

Despite their record, the team is still building team chemistry and have started to see improvements.

"It's never easy because we're all competitors and we all want to win," guard Spencer Dinwiddie said. "I wouldn't say it's the end of the world or super hard either. I think we all had that type of mentality coming into it, like we all understood it's going to take time to work a new group in. KD's not coming back, but we're building a foundation for him to come back. We have a lot going on."

Tags: Jarrett Allen, Spencer Dinwiddie
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Nets turnovers lead to loss 00:01:52
It was an even game through the half, but turnovers led to the Nets 118-108 loss despite a team-high 28 points from Kyrie Irving.

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

Kyrie Irving responded to an ESPN report that stated some in the Nets' organization are concerned over his 'infamous mood swings.' 

He said he isn't worried about other people's perceptions and isn't going to respond emotionally to the report. He added that he expects reports like this to surface about him and he doesn't 'have to be perfect' for the Nets or anyone else. 

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Oct 27, 2019; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant (12) defends against Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) during the first quarter at the FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports (Jerome Miron)
Oct 27, 2019; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant (12) defends against Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) during the first quarter at the FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports (Jerome Miron)

Kenny Atkinsion and the Nets defended Kyrie Irving after Tuesday's report by ESPN stated that the team was dealing with "mood swings" from the new star point guard, and the fourth-year head coach said more of the same 24 hours later.

Before the Nets (1-2) hosted the Indiana Pacers (0-3) for Wednesday's 7:30 p.m. ET tip-off at Barclays Center in New York, Atkinson was asked if the coach felt the need to speak with Irving about the report.

Atkinson, who called the report "completely false" Tuesday, doubled -- and tripled -- down Wednesday.

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Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

Speaking from his own experience, Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said on Tuesday that he's never had any concern over star point guard Kyrie Irving's mood. 

"That is completely false. In strictly speaking in my observation and my experience with him so far, it's absolutely not true," Aktinson said when asked about an ESPN report that stated the organization has concerns about Irving's mood swings. "I'm the moody one, I really am. I'm cranky and I have my ups and downs. If there's just natural human behavior where guys are up and down, that's different. From my perspective, I give Kyrie an A-plus in his consistency and his spirit. It's been great." 

In a profile on Irving, Kevin Durant, DeAndre Jordan and the Nets, ESPN's Jackie MacMullan, reported that the Nets are 'queasy' over Irving's changing mood. It's a part of his personality that has reportedly been brought up multiple times over his career. 

Tags: DeAndre Jordan, Spencer Dinwiddie, Ian Begley
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Atkinson denies Kyrie reports 00:01:36
Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson, players Spencer Dinwiddie and DeAndre Jordan deny the recent reports of Kyrie Irving's mood swings.

Despite the Nets record after their first three games of the season, PG Kyrie Irving has already taken in the reins of the team in terms of showing off his scoring ability and leading them on the floor. 

But, according to ESPN's Jackie MacMullan, the Nets have already experienced Irving's interesting personality as well.

Irving has been documented to having mood swings in the past, especially with his Celtics squad last season. And MacMullan is reporting that the Nets have seen it already during their China trip, leaving some team officials "queasy."

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Oct 27, 2019; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant (12) blocks a game winning shot attempt by Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) at the end of regulation at the FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports (Jerome Miron)
Oct 27, 2019; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant (12) blocks a game winning shot attempt by Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) at the end of regulation at the FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports (Jerome Miron)

With seven seconds left in regulation, Joe Harris inbounded to Kyrie Irving from the sideline to the right wing and the Nets guard positioned himself against Grizzlies rookie Ja Morant.

With his back against Morant, Irving pivoted right and faced the basket.

As the seconds ticked off the clock, Irving went left and pulled up off a pump fake for the potential game-winning shot, but Morant time the attempt perfectly, stuffing the jumper and sending the tie into overtime.

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Oct 27, 2019; Memphis, TN, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) celebrates making a shot against the Memphis Grizzlies during the first quarter at the FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports (Jerome Miron)
Oct 27, 2019; Memphis, TN, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) celebrates making a shot against the Memphis Grizzlies during the first quarter at the FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports (Jerome Miron)

Just three games into his new chapter in Brooklyn, Kyrie Irving has made Nets -- and NBA -- history.

Sunday's 134-133 overtime loss to the Memphis Grizzlies featured Irving's game-high 37 points, resulting in franchise and league milestones through three games.

Irving became the first Net ever to total 26 points or more in a season's opening three games. With his 113 points through the stretch, he overtook guard James Harden, who compiled 106 points in his initial three games as a member of the Houston Rockets to start the 2012-13 season.

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Oct 25, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving (11) reacts after defeating the New York Knicks at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports  (Brad Penner)
Oct 25, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving (11) reacts after defeating the New York Knicks at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Earlier this week, Kyrie Irving stirred up Knicks fans by saying that the Nets "were going to take over the entire city."

But after Friday night's 113-109 win over the Knicks at Barclays Center, Irving, who hit the go-ahead three-pointer in the final minute, downplayed the Knicks-Nets rivalry.

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Kyrie on Knicks, Nets rivalry 00:01:42
Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving explains how he views the rivalry between the Knicks and the Nets from his point of view.

After a tough OT loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wendesday night, the Nets got their first win of the season, beating the rival Knicks 113-109 on Friday night.

Head coach Kenny Atkinson was proud of his team's effort after the win.

"Sometimes you gotta find a way," Atkinson said. "I thought our defensive effort was good, take the third quarter out, I thought overall our defense was much much better."

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Oct 25, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson (23) steals the ball from Brooklyn Nets small forward Rodions Kurucs (00) during the second quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Oct 25, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson (23) steals the ball from Brooklyn Nets small forward Rodions Kurucs (00) during the second quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

It's just the first Knicks vs. Nets game of the season, and tempers have already started to flare.

With about 1:30 left in the second quarter, Nets star point guard Kyrie Irving drove toward the basket and missed a layup. Irving fell to the ground and caught his own rebound, Knicks power forward Bobby Portis then tried to grab the ball from Irving, who was still on the ground.

Nets forward Taurean Prince then ran over and attempted to shield Irving from Portis. 

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Sep 27, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) poses for a portrait during media day at HSS Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)
Sep 27, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) poses for a portrait during media day at HSS Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)

Kyrie Irving suggested earlier this week that New York was well on its way to becoming a Nets town, and he doubled down on that belief at a promotional event on Thursday.

In a video from the event posted on Twitter, Irving mentioned the team will miss Kevin Durant as he recovers from his torn Achilles, but notes they are not going to simply wait around for the 12-time All-Star to return. 

"So for real, that's my best friend and I want to send good health to him," Irving said. "But for the time being, we're going to take over the whole entire city. It's about us."

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Kyrie talks Nets debut 00:01:20
Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving explains his emotions after playing in his first game in a Nets uniform.

Kyrie Irving dropped 50 points in what doubled as a single-game record between the Nets and NBA for a player's debut with a new team, but the star point guard's valiant effort ultimately fell short at the end of Wednesday's 127-126 overtime loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

On the last possession out of a Nets timeout with 14.5 seconds left, Irving did what head coach Kenny Atkinson wanted -- get the ball in the hands of the team's best player and see what happens in the final moments -- but Irving's jump shot from just beyond the free-throw line rimmed off the right side at the buzzer.

Irving, who made 17 of 33 shots (51.5 percent) across the floor and went 7 for 14 (50.0 percent) from three-point range, had no interest in entertaining the historic individual peformance.

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The Brooklyn Nets fell 127-126 to the Minnesota Timberwolves in overtime of Wednesday's 2019-20 season opener at Barclays Center. >> Box Score

Six things to know from Wednesday's game...

1) Kyrie Irving's homecoming to the Nets, the team he grew up rooting for while the franchise was in New Jersey, was historic. With 50 points on 17-of-33 shooting, Irving set the Nets' -- and the NBA's -- single-game record for scoring in a player's debut. Irving added a 7-of-14 clip from three-point range, plus seven assists and eight rebounds, for the Nets' offense in what was an all-around effort. Perhaps most notable, Irving did not turn the ball over once. Despite a facial fracture that handicapped him throughout the preseason, Irving did not wear a mask as he made his season debut. 

Tags: DeAndre Jordan, Jarrett Allen, Joe Harris, Spencer Dinwiddie, Taurean Prince
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Sep 27, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) poses for a portrait during media day at HSS Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)
Sep 27, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) poses for a portrait during media day at HSS Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)

Kevin Durant's Achilles injury in Game 5 of last year's NBA Finals helped change the landscape of the NBA. 

Though the Warriors won that game, the Raptors went on to take home the NBA title, ending the Warriors' shot at a three- peat. The injury also seems to have impacted Durant's free agency decision, as he left the Warriors to join Kyrie Irving with the Nets. 

Durant was recently a guest on The Athletic's Knuckleheads Podcast with former NBA players Quentin Richardson and Darius Miles, and the 10-time All-Star spoke openly about suffering that injury.

Tags: D'Angelo Russell
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Kyrie likes Nets fan base 00:01:06
Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving knows he and the Nets will earn the respect of New York basketball fans with their success on the court.

With the regular season set to start for the Nets on Wednesday night against the Timberwolves, Kyrie Irving is ready to embrace the year with his new teammates and group together there experiences on the court into a shared leadership role.

"I think that we all share a certain responsibility in the leadership here," Irving said. "I think that some of my past experiences, there could be a sense of alienation when you think about someone naming you as just the leader of the team and falling all in your court."

"I want to share those responsibilities with those guys--obviously we have different roles, that every single night there's a consistency that you have to live up to, and your game. But overall, there shouldn't be a different communication that I have with [Duzanan] Musa or Caris [LeVert] just because I am a nine-year vet, or anything like that."

Tags: Allen Crabbe, Caris LeVert, D'Angelo Russell, DeMarre Carroll, Dzanan Musa, Ed Davis, Jared Dudley, Jarrett Allen, Joe Harris, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Spencer Dinwiddie, Taurean Prince
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Sep 27, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) poses for a portrait during media day at HSS Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)
Sep 27, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) poses for a portrait during media day at HSS Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)

Kevin Durant was on Monday's episode of "How Hungry Are You?" by Bleacher Report, hosted by former teammate Serge Ibaka, and spoke on his decision to sign with the Nets this offseason instead of the Knicks.

"I just like the organization as far as just the direction they were going in," Durant told Ibaka. "A bunch of young guys that played in the playoffs before. I think the Knicks players, they're good young players but they still need a little bit more experience to match where I was in my career. So it was nothing major against the Knicks. I just think Brooklyn is farther along in the process of being a contender."

Durant was surely pointing to Kyrie Irving and former Knick DeAndre Jordan when describing players who have a lot of playoff experience, but really it's the entire team as a whole, with the Nets making the playoffs last season and a number of the players from that team still in Brooklyn.

Tags: DeAndre Jordan
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 (Nicole Sweet)
(Nicole Sweet)

Taurean Prince and the Brooklyn Nets agreed on a two-year, $29 million dollar contract extension Monday, as first reported by ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and confirmed by SNY's Ian Begley

Prince, who was traded to the Nets this summer for Allen Crabbe, the draft rights to No. 17 overall 2019 draft pick Nickeil Alexander-Walker and a protected 2020 first round pick, will now remain in Brooklyn through the 2021-2022 season.

The initial move for Prince helped the Nets make space for Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and DeAndre Jordan.

The Nets continue to round out their roster for the next few seasons -- the team also extended Caris LeVert this summer to a multi-year contract.

Tags: Caris LeVert, Taurean Prince
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Sep 27, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) poses for a portrait during media day at HSS Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)
Sep 27, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) poses for a portrait during media day at HSS Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

Jalen Rose talked about the Knicks, Nets and Kevin Durant with reporters at a Puma eventin Brooklyn on Saturday. The ESPN analyst said he loves what the Nets are doing. He also thinks Kevin Durant's free agency would have unfolded differently if Durant never tore his Achilles.Here are Rose's thoughts on those subjects, what bothers him about James Harden's preseason and who he sees competing with the Lakers in the Western Conference: 

Here's what Rose thought about the Knicks' offseason and the team they've put together: "The goal is always to sign the top-tier player. If you're Duke, if you're Arizona, if you're Kentucky, you want to sign the McDonald's All-American. But if you can't do so, then you've got to recruit a team - like Gonzaga, like Michigan was doing before - where you develop the players," Rose, a Puma ambassador/consultant, said. 

Tags: Kevin Knox, Ian Begley
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 (Nicole Sweet)
(Nicole Sweet)

Kyrie Irving made his Barclays Center debut as a Net on Friday and led the team with 19 points as Brooklyn dropped its preseason finale to the Raptors by a score of 123-107.

The prized offseason acquisition also led the Nets with 25 minutes on the floor as he shot 7-for-17 from the floor and 2-for-5 from three-point range while adding four assists, three rebounds and two steals. He was one of six Nets who put up double-figures in scoring. 

Irving was held out of the team's first preseason game in Brooklyn two weeks ago, but suited up for the team's first game against the Lakers in China last week. He was hit in the face in the opening two minutes of that game and did not return to the floor, and wore a protective mask in Friday's contest.

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Apr 20, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson and guard Caris LeVert (22) react during the second half time out against the Philadelphia 76ers at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Apr 20, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson and guard Caris LeVert (22) react during the second half time out against the Philadelphia 76ers at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

The Nets saw their trip to China as a bonding experience and didn't want to discuss the off-court issues between the NBA and one of its biggest foreign markets.

"In four years here, I've never commented on a political issue or a social issue. I'm just going to continue that way," head coach Kenny Atkinson said Wednesday. "I would love to keep it to our Nets and the on-court stuff, anything you want to know about how we played, our rotations, our pick-and-roll defense, I'd be more than willing to answer that."

The Nets and Lakers were in the middle of a tense geopolitical storm during their stay in China. It started, as you know, with a tweet from Rockets general manager Daryl Morey expressing support Hong Kong demonstrators protesting a number of issues related to China.

Tags: Caris LeVert, Joe Harris, Ian Begley
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Sep 27, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) poses for a portrait during media day at HSS Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)
Sep 27, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) poses for a portrait during media day at HSS Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)

Kenny Atkinson informed reporters that Kyrie Irving practiced on Wednesday and is expected to play in the Nets' preseason finale against the Raptors on Friday.

"He practiced today and played really well. He looked good," Atkinson said. "We had an inter-squad scrimmage today, Black-Gray, especially to get Kyrie some more up and down work."

"He'll play Friday. We'll see if it's his normal minutes, obviously he's missed some time, so we'll see about that."

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Sep 27, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) poses for a portrait during media day at HSS Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)
Sep 27, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) poses for a portrait during media day at HSS Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)

As the NBA-China controversy continues to unfold, much has been made over comments from players like LeBron James, but with the Lakers and Nets both in the country for a pair of exhibition games, other players reportedly expressed concern about playing the preseason games.

According to a report for ESPN's Dave McMenamin, Nets point guard Kyrie Irving "questioned whether or not it was worth playing the games in such a charged environment."

A source told McMenamin that Irving would have rather not played the games than have to be asked about the backlash surrounding Rockets owner Daryl Morey's tweet.

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Sean Marks answers questions during a news conference where he was introduced as the new general manager of the Brooklyn Nets, before the Nets' NBA basketball game against the New York Knicks, Friday, Feb. 19, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson (Julie Jacobso/AP)
Sean Marks answers questions during a news conference where he was introduced as the new general manager of the Brooklyn Nets, before the Nets' NBA basketball game against the New York Knicks, Friday, Feb. 19, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson (Julie Jacobso/AP)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

If you've seen LeBron James' comments on the NBA-China controversy (and the reaction to those comments), you know that the ripple effects of Daryl Morey's tweet in support of demonstrators in Hong Kong will be felt for some time. 

There's plenty to unpack with this story: free speech issues, the NBA -- and many other companies -- conducting business with a country that critics say has a history of oppressing dissent, and the potential financial fallout for the league in the form of lost revenue from the business they do in China.

It's way too early to predict how much revenue the league may lose in the aftermath of last week's events. But the lost revenue -- if it's high enough -- will have a tangible impact on the Nets. 

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Apr 10, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Caris LeVert (22) brings the ball up court in the first quarter against the Miami Heat at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports (Wendell Cruz)
Apr 10, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Caris LeVert (22) brings the ball up court in the first quarter against the Miami Heat at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports (Wendell Cruz)

Caris LeVert scored a game-high 22 points on 8-for-11 shooting in 23 minutes as the Nets cruised to a 91-77 win over the Lakers on Saturday in the second of two preseason games the teams played in China. Brooklyn defeated Los Angeles 114-111 on Thursday, as well.

LeVert was questionable for Saturday's contest after getting hit in the face very early in Thursday's game, logging just 1:28 on the court. But the 25-year-old, who signed a three-year, $52.5 million extension in the offseason, showed no ill-effects as he looks to bounce back from a season in which he missed 42 games with an ankle injury.

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Nov 21, 2018; Dallas, TX, USA; A view of the team logo on the shorts of Brooklyn Nets forward Jared Dudley (6) as he warms up before the game against the Dallas Mavericks at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports (Jerome Miron)
Nov 21, 2018; Dallas, TX, USA; A view of the team logo on the shorts of Brooklyn Nets forward Jared Dudley (6) as he warms up before the game against the Dallas Mavericks at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports (Jerome Miron)

The NBA has cancelled media availability for teams for the rest of the China trip.

The league had cancelled media obligations for players and coaches following the Nets-Lakers game in Shanghai on Thursday. They are scheduled to play again on Saturday in Shenzhen at 7:30 AM ET.

"We have decided not to hold media availability for our teams for the remainder of our trip in China," the NBA said in a statement. "They have been placed into a complicated and unprecedented situation while abroad and we believe it would be unfair to ask them to address these matters in real time."

 

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Sep 27, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Caris LeVert (22) and Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) pose for a portrait during media day at HSS Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (NICOLE SWEET)
Sep 27, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Caris LeVert (22) and Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) pose for a portrait during media day at HSS Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (NICOLE SWEET)

Nets star point guard Kyrie Irving will miss Saturday's game in China against the Los Angeles Lakers after suffering a facial contusion, the team said according to SNY's Ian Begley.

Irving, who had injured his face earlier this offseason and was wearing a face mask, left his first preseason game with the Nets on Thursday in China. Lakers guard Rajon Rondo appeared to collide with Irving, forcing him to leave the game after playing just one minute and six seconds.

Caris LeVert is listed as questionable for Saturday's game with an eye injury, after he took contact to the face as well in Thursday's game against the Lakers.

Tags: Caris LeVert
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Feb 16, 2019; Charlotte, NC, USA; NBA commissioner Adam Silver speaks during a press conference at Spectrum Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports (Bob Donnan)
Feb 16, 2019; Charlotte, NC, USA; NBA commissioner Adam Silver speaks during a press conference at Spectrum Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports (Bob Donnan)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

The controversy between the NBA and China isn't going anywhere anytime soon. It's a complex issue that involves hundreds of millions of dollars in profit for the league, free speech and a Chinese government that critics say has a history of oppressing dissent.

Some NBA players in China feel like they're caught in the middle of an impossible position.

"They feel they are in tough spot because they're going to have to talk about things that they aren't well-versed on," someone in touch with two players currently in China told SNY. "They thought they were here to play basketball and entertain, and it's turned into a circus."

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Sep 27, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) poses for a portrait during media day at HSS Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)
Sep 27, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) poses for a portrait during media day at HSS Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)

The Nets and Lakers were squaring off in China when Kyrie Irving left his first preseason appearance one minute in after suffering a facial contusion, the team said Thursday morning.

Irving was hit in the face once again, exiting the hardwood in clear discomfort. He was already wearing a mask due to a facial fracture he sustained playing pick-up with the Nets earlier this offseason.

It appears that Rajon Rondo was the one who collided with Irving. 

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Sep 27, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) poses for a portrait during media day at HSS Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)
Sep 27, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) poses for a portrait during media day at HSS Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)

The New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets first face each other in the second game of the regular season Oct. 25 at Barclays Center, and the intrigue has already begun with off-court comments from both sides.

After Kevin Durant said that "the cool thing right now is not the Knicks," Julius Randle, among others, had a response for reporters Wednesday when asked about the new Nets star's thoughts from Tuesday on Hot97 FM's Ebro in the Morning Show.

"S--t, I feel cool in blue and orange," Randle told reporters. "I don't know about everybody else but I feel pretty cool wearing my Knicks gear every day. It's a dream come true for me. Everybody has their own opinion."

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 (NICOLE SWEET)
(NICOLE SWEET)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

Nets center DeAndre Jordan didn't want to comment on the international controversy between the NBA, the Chinese government, the Houston Rockets and Houston GM Daryl Morey

"It was unfortunate that the events were cancelled today but we're not experts in that field," Jordan said on ESPN's The Jump on Tuesday from China, where the Nets are scheduled to play the Lakers. "The field that we are experts in is basketball. We wanted to come here to play basketball and see all our fans in China."

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Sep 27, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) poses for a portrait during media day at HSS Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)
Sep 27, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) poses for a portrait during media day at HSS Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

In an interview on the Ebro in the Morning Show on Hot97 FM, Nets star Kevin Durant talked about several topics, including his decision to sign with the Nets and why "it's hard" for the Knicks to attract top players. Here is the full interview.

Here are some highlights:

ON HIS DECISION TO SIGN WITH THE NETS

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Mar 9, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; Brooklyn Nets center Jarrett Allen (31) reacts after their win against the Atlanta Hawks at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports (Jason Getz)
Mar 9, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; Brooklyn Nets center Jarrett Allen (31) reacts after their win against the Atlanta Hawks at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports (Jason Getz)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

Jarrett Allen will start for the Nets at center in their preseason opener on Friday, Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson said.

That means DeAndre Jordan will be coming off the bench for Brooklyn, though Atkinson says you shouldn't read too much into the decision.

"There wasn't, believe it or not, a ton of thought put into," he said. "They've both played really well."

Tags: DeAndre Jordan, Jarrett Allen, Ian Begley
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Feb 26, 2019; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks guard Allonzo Trier (14) shoots against Orlando Magic guard Evan Fournier (10) during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)
Feb 26, 2019; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks guard Allonzo Trier (14) shoots against Orlando Magic guard Evan Fournier (10) during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

When Kevin Durant signed with the Brooklyn Nets this summer, Knicks fans naturally felt spurned, having held out hope that the 10-time All-Star would bring the magic back to Madison Square Garden.

But what about Allonzo Trier? The second-year Knicks guard has a relationship with Durant that dates back to Trier's days as a high schooler in Oklahoma City, when Durant was a member of the Thunder.

Tags: Allonzo Trier
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Sep 27, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) poses for a portrait during media day at HSS Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)
Sep 27, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) poses for a portrait during media day at HSS Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

Kyrie Irving has been ruled out of the Nets' preseason opener on Friday, but Kenny Atkinson says his new point guard is picking up defensive concepts 'seamlessly.' 

"Very pleased so far," Atkinson said on Wednesday. 

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Nets find intensity at practice 00:01:19
Kenny Atkinson and Joe Harris talk about the first few days of Nets training camp. The team's managed to find the right level of intensity.

According to head coach Kenny Atkinson, the Nets' first few days of training camp practice have been highly competitive, but it's a "healthy" competition. 

"I think the spirit of the group is really good," Atkinson said. "Sometimes competitive can go over the line where it affects chemistry. I think our competitiveness is in the right spirit. I think we have good guys even with the new guys meshing. I think it's a healthy competition. There are definitely some battles going on, but in the right sense and the right spirit."

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Nets open camp 00:01:31
Nets Head Coach Kenny Atkinson on the Nets opening training camp and meeting with NBA referees regarding the new travelling rules.

On Saturday, Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson spoke about the beginning of training camp, as the team enters the year with high expectations after the signings of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, among others. 

"We haven't changed a lot but we've tweaked some things, so that's always a challenge for the coaching staff to present that to the team, but a lot of teaching," Atkinson said.

Atkinson also said the Nets scrimmaged at the end of their first practice.

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Dec 16, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder power forward Carmelo Anthony (7) plays the ball against New York Knicks small forward Lance Thomas (42) during the third quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Dec 16, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder power forward Carmelo Anthony (7) plays the ball against New York Knicks small forward Lance Thomas (42) during the third quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

Count Lance Thomas among the NBA players who are surprised that Carmelo Anthony isn't on an NBA roster. 

"I think he deserves to end up on a team. A guy of his caliber is someone who has always been a standup guy in the league. He's given amazing basketball memories to the NBA, has affected almost every teammate he's ever had in a positive way, and always has a smile on his face," Thomas said Friday at Nets Media Day. "I think he does deserve to play on a team. I think it's unfortunate what's happening. But you're not going to take the smile off his face even if you tried."

Thomas signed with the Nets on Friday. His addition puts Brooklyn's roster entering training camp at 20 players - the maximum allowed under NBA guidelines. So the Nets would need to waive someone to add Anthony, which seems unlikely at this point. 

Tags: Carmelo Anthony, Lance Thomas, Ian Begley
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May 6, 2019; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving (11) reacts during the second half in game four of the second round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs against the Milwaukee Bucks at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports (Greg M. Cooper)
May 6, 2019; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving (11) reacts during the second half in game four of the second round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs against the Milwaukee Bucks at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports (Greg M. Cooper)

Kyrie Irving provided plenty of insight on Friday into what led him to re-consider a pledge to re-sign with the Celtics and, ultimately, join the Brooklyn Nets.

Irving said one of the most important factors for him in signing with the Nets was returning home. He grew up in West Orange, NJ. He said the death of his grandfather early last season impacted him significantly. In the aftermath of his grandfather's death, Irving began to re-think the idea of re-signing with the Celtics. Prior to the season, he said in front of the crowd at Celtics home arena that he planned to re-sign with the club.

"After that, a lot of things happened in my personal life that really changed the landscape of how I felt about the game of basketball and actually playing it in a team environment and that really affected me as a human being," Irving said. "I didn't share it with anyone. I didn't want to come out and say that this is bothering me or I'm in a depression at this point in dealing with the death of my grandfather. So when all this happened, and the pressures - I put in quotations - from this basketball game came into free agency and what I was doing with my future, I wanted to dispel all those things but I don't think I did it in the right way of being honest about how I felt. So I just wanted to come here with a very fresh mindset and make sure that I'm honest with my teammates going forward."

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Kyrie will be Durant's protector 00:02:39
Kevin Durant opens up about joining the Nets, and Kyrie Irving promises to protect his teammate, as a new basketball era begins in Brooklyn.

After suffering a torn right Achilles tendon in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, then-Golden State Warrior Kevin Durant -- along with Warriors head coach Steve Kerr told reporters that, despite having missed much of the postseason due to injury, the superstar was healthy enough to take the court.

But at Friday's Nets' media day, Durant's current teammate in Brooklyn Kyrie Irving gave a different view of things.

 

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Brooklyn Nets' Kevin Durant
Brooklyn Nets' Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant detailed why he chose to sign with the Nets on Friday during the team's Media Day.

"We know basketball pretty well, and it's really easy to see what these guys brought to the table," Durant said. "It's not like I had to do any deep analysis of any player here. Just watching games and playing against them and seeing the continuity throughout the last couple of years, it was pretty easy to figure out what kind of team and what kind of organization this place is."

Durant made his decision before he even spoke to the Nets, and it was a decision he said was easy to reach. Irving, Durant and DeAndre Jordan all said on Friday that they talked about the possibility of signing together with Brooklyn in a conversation over the phone - or FaceTime - at 4:16 AM EST on the morning of July 30, the first day of free agency. 

"We were like, 'Are you ready to do it?' And everybody was like, 'Yeah,'" Durant said. "I could try to think of something deeper, but it really wasn't."

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Lance Thomas 1on1 00:04:01
Newest Brooklyn Net Lance Thomas likes the competitiveness he's seen in his new team and praises his time with the New York Knicks.

The Nets have agreed to terms with forward Lance Thomas, the team announced ahead of Friday's media day. 

SNY had previously reported that the team was in conversations with the former Knick about a role that would give him a regular roster spot

 

Tags: Lance Thomas
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Mar 15, 2019; San Antonio, TX, USA; New York Knicks small forward Lance Thomas (42) dunks over San Antonio Spurs center Jakob Poeltl (right) during the first half at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports (Soobum Im)
Mar 15, 2019; San Antonio, TX, USA; New York Knicks small forward Lance Thomas (42) dunks over San Antonio Spurs center Jakob Poeltl (right) during the first half at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports (Soobum Im)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter | 

Discussions between Lance Thomas and the Brooklyn Nets have centered around Thomas having a regular season roster spot, per SNY sources.

The Nets have 15 players on guaranteed deals, but can add an extra player after the fifth game of Wilson Chandler's 25-game suspension for violating the league's performance-enhancing drug policy.

Nets GM Sean Marks acknowledged on Tuesday that the team will look into adding a 16th player on the roster during Chandler's suspension.

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Nov 22, 2017; Miami, FL, USA; Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving (11) slips on his mask during the second half against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)
Nov 22, 2017; Miami, FL, USA; Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving (11) slips on his mask during the second half against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

Nets guard Kyrie Irving suffered a left side facial fracture during a pickup game on Tuesday, the team announced. The Nets say Irving is day-to-day. Training camp begins Saturday.

Irving was hurt by an inadvertent elbow during a pickup game at the Nets' facility.

The Nets' first preseason game is October 4. Irving's availability for that game is unclear. He could - and likely will - play with a protective mask, as he did during his stints in Boston and Cleveland. 

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Carmelo Anthony/Sean Marks
Carmelo Anthony/Sean Marks

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

Nets GM Sean Marks acknowledged that the team will look into adding a 16th player on the roster during Wilson Chandler's suspension. The Nets have 15 players on guaranteed deals, but can add an extra player after the fifth game of Chandler's 25-game suspension.

When asked specifically about free agent Carmelo Anthony, Marks obviously declined to address the 10-time All Star specifically.

"I will say we will do our due diligence on everybody. We've looked at multiple players, we've brought in several players, whether it was throughout the summer for pickup and they've come in on their own accord," Marks said. "It's documented that guys were playing together in L.A. (with Anthony), so for us, I think we'll use our Exhibit 10s, we'll use training camp in which to try and figure it out, whether it's two-way spots and so forth. We'll use that to figure out where we go."

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Update on Kevin Durant's rehab 00:01:32
Nets GM addressed Kevin Durant's rehab process and says the team expects to not have Kevin Durant play this season. Health is the priority.

Nets GM Sean Marks said on Tuesday that the organization isn't planning on All Star Kevin Durant returning this season.

"With Kevin, I think what we're going to say is the expectations are that he'll be out for the year," Marks said at his pre-training camp press conference. "We're not going to plan on him playing. His rehab will obviously be predetermined over the course of the next few months, how he goes with the performance team, but ultimately Kevin will have a large say in when he comes back and how he's feeling. The expectation now is for him to be out for the year."

Durant underwent surgery to repair a torn right Achilles in June. There is no clear timetable for his return, though Marks said Durant is attacking his rehab aggressively.

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