USA Basketball expanded the list of finalists for the 2021 U.S. Men’s Olympic team from 42 to 57 on Thursday, and the list now includes six Nets – Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, Kevin Durant, James Harden, Joe Harris and Kyrie Irving. Two former Nets – Jarrett Allen and Brook Lopez – made the list along with current Knicks Mitchell Robinson and Julius Randle.
The Tokyo Olympics were rescheduled from last summer to July 23-Aug. 8. If the Nets reach the NBA Finals, they are scheduled July 8-22, so it would be a short turnaround that would cut into a brief offseason for any Nets participating in the Olympics.
Asked if he might worry about his players suffering an injury in Olympics play, coach Steve Nash said, "If the players want to play and represent their country, I think it’s great. We take risks all the time as players, and if our guys have the dream or the will to want to play in the Olympics and are fortunate enough to be on the squad, I wouldn’t want to take that away from them."
Durant, Griffin out vs. Celts
Durant and Griffin were ruled out of the Nets’ game against the Celtics Thursday at Barclays Center. Durant missed the previous nine games with a left hamstring strain, and free agent-signee Griffin hasn’t played for a month and must rebuild his condition.
"Kevin is getting better all the time, has a scan next week, and we’ll assess him then," Nash said on Wednesday. "But he hasn’t played in a month, so no matter what the scan says, there will still be an appropriate ramp up, trying to make sure we put him in a position to finish the season strong."
Griffin said he’s "not injured at all," but he last played for the Pistons on Feb. 12 before negotiating a buyout to become a free agent. He practiced fully with the Nets on Wednesday but needs time to ramp up to resume play.