Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving returning to Nets puts team in title conversation, teammate says

The Brooklyn Nets could contend for an NBA title if Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are healthy going into an expanded playoff situation amid the coronavirus pandemic, a teammate said Wednesday.

Spencer Dinwiddie said during an interview on ESPN’s “First Take” that the Nets shouldn’t be counted out if they get into the playoffs, thanks to an abbreviated season. However, Dinwiddie was unsure whether both players would return if that’s the case.

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“That’s the billion-dollar question. But that’s not something I can answer,” Dinwiddie said. “I know they’re both working really hard. They’re two of the hardest working in the NBA on the court, and two phenomenal players. If they are able to return and that’s the decision they make, our aspirations turn from playoffs to championship.

“If they’re not able to return, which they’ve pretty much said that’s kind of the stance that they’re taking, we still want to be a team that grinds to get to the playoffs and makes a run in the playoffs. But we also understand the talent they add with being two of the top-10 players in the league and KD being, in my opinion, the greatest scorer of all time.”

Spencer Dinwiddie is a key member of the Nets. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

Spencer Dinwiddie is a key member of the Nets. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

Brooklyn has had an odd season for a team with some hype at its start.

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When the season was suspended on March 12, the Nets were 30-34 and in the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference. Brooklyn was sure to be without Irving after a few injuries, and Durant, who is recovering from a torn Achilles, for the rest of the season.

But with the season paused, it opened up more recovery time for both players and a heightened chance for them to return.

Multiple reports cast doubt on Durant’s return, even for a short playoff run. But Durant himself has not officially said one way or the other. And Irving had what was thought to be season-ending shoulder surgery, but his status is still up in the air.

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Things will probably become more clear once the NBA’s plan is set in stone.

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