UPDATE: March 28 — Irving is back with the Nets and will be available to play in Monday’s game vs. the Minnesota Timberwolves. Irving missed three straight games on the road but was expected to be back when the Nets got back to Brooklyn.
This should mean Jeff Green goes back to the bench with Irving in the starting lineup. The Nets also signed PF LaMarcus Aldridge to a one-year deal after he was bought out by the Spurs. We’ll see if LMA ends up in the starting five at PF or C or if he comes off the bench with Blake Griffin.
Brooklyn Nets PG Kyrie Irving has left the team to attend to a family matter and will not be on their upcoming three-game road trip. The Nets head out West to take on the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday in the first of a back-to-back before facing the Utah Jazz on Wednesday. Brooklyn heads back East a bit with a stop to play the Detroit Pistons on Friday before facing the Minnesota Timberwolves next Monday at home. It’s unclear if Irving is out for the next three games or if he’ll join the Nets at some point during the trip. This isn’t the first time Kyrie has taken a leave of absence from the team to attend to personal matters.
So the Nets are used to being without superstar players this season. Irving missed a game last week due to a groin injury and Harden put up a 40-point triple-double. Chances are this absence is nothing. It is convenient that Irving is away from the team the same week as the NBA Trade Deadline, which is Thursday at 3 p.m. ET. There will be plenty of stupid speculation around this. It’s probably best to just ignore it.
Anyway, let’s get to the fantasy basketball and betting implications. With Irving out, Harden becomes the top chalk/GPP play on most of these slates. As a result, we should see his price go up into the $12K realm. The Nets lines may also be impacted but remember, Brooklyn has been fine without Kevin Durant and Irving at times this season. Harden can carry the team. The flip side is the Nets could have a tougher time against better opponents in the Blazers and Jazz before Friday vs. the Pistons.
Landry Shamet is hurt so the Nets should go with a starting lineup of Harden, Bruce Brown, Joe Harris, Jeff Green and DeAndre Jordan. Tyler Johnson should get some more playing time as well in the back court as the only other “true” point guard behind Harden. Even Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot should get extra run with Shamet sidelined considering the Nets will need some more shooters to space the floor.