76ers Rival Watch: Nets Lose More Players Ahead of NBA Restart

Justin Grasso

The Philadelphia 76ers' 2019 first-round opponents, the Brooklyn Nets, might have a hard time clinching a spot in the NBA Playoffs once again. Despite loading up the roster with two additional superstars during last year's postseason, Brooklyn is going to have quite a hard time making an impact during the NBA's restart.

For starters, the team's two recently signed superstars aren't going to compete. Kevin Durant, who injured his Achilles a little over a year ago, is slowly coming back to the game of basketball. As he continues to rehab his season-ending injury, Durant made it clear that he won't travel to Orlando for the NBA's restart.

Brooklyn Nets star point guard Kyrie Irving won't do the same. Throughout his first season with the Nets, Irving has dealt with nagging injuries all year long. And about a month before the NBA's season was suspended, Irving elected to undergo season-ending surgery on his shoulder -- and the team doesn't anticipate having him back in time for the playoffs in September.

As if losing Irving and Durant wasn't enough, Brooklyn also found out that their backup center DeAndre Jordan will also opt-out of traveling to Orlando this summer. As the 31-year-old veteran recently tested positive for COVID-19, he has decided that going to Orlando for the restart isn't in his best interest.

While the Nets could possibly rely on their rising star Spencer Dinwiddie to make a playoff push during the final eight games of the regular season, Brooklyn might be out of luck there too. In addition to Jordan, Dinwiddie also tested positive for COVID-19 recently. Although he hasn't opted-out of the restart yet, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski indicated in a report that avoiding the bubble city is still in play for Dinwiddie. Now, the Nets anticipate restarting the season without Irving, Durant, Jordan, and Wilson Chandler.

Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_