Until Kevin Durant recovers from right Achilles surgery this season or next, the Nets will enter the 2019-20 season with a deficit at power forward. In Durant’s absence, veteran free agent Taurean Prince is the projected starter, but veteran backup Wilson Chandler is facing a 25-game suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs and second-year player Rodions Kurucs is facing a domestic abuse charge.
General manager Sean Marks addressed both incidents in a Tuesday news conference before the opening of training camp on Friday. Chandler claimed he unwittingly took a medication on the NBA’s list of banned substances. His suspension begins after the fifth game of the season and lasts to mid-December.
“Any time you lose a player that you’ve planned on really participating and contributing a fair amount for you, that’s really tough,” Marks said. “It’s definitely a blow.”
Kurucs was a fan favorite during his rookie season, playing in 63 games, making 46 starts and averaging 8.5 points. He was arrested on Sept. 3 related to an incident that his former girlfriend reported on Aug. 27, two months after the alleged assault took place during an argument. Kurucs has a court date on Oct. 21, two days before the season opener against Minnesota at Barclays Center.
“Those allegations we take extremely serious as a franchise,” Marks said. “We’re definitely going to let this play out in court. We’ll support the NBA in their investigation, and obviously, we’ll support the authorities.
“My conversation with Rodi was more along the lines of we’re here for support. You’re part of our family. We’re here when you need us. If you need to talk, you need to cry, whatever it may be, we’re all here for you.”
Marks declined to address rumors of interest in former Knicks star Carmelo Anthony, who practiced with several Nets in Los Angeles during the summer, but he said he will explore all options to add a player for the open roster spot during Chandler’s suspension.
“I wouldn’t comment on any particular players that aren’t here on our team,” Marks said regarding Anthony. “I will say we will do our due diligence on everybody. We’ve looked at multiple players…We’ll figure out where we go.”