CHARLOTTE, N.C. — As expected, the Nets will be without Joe Harris for a fourth straight game when he misses the New Year’s Eve tilt against the Hornets on Saturday night.
Harris has been back in Brooklyn nursing a sore left knee and hasn’t played since the Dec. 21 rout of the defending champion Warriors.
“He’ll stay at home, rejoin us [in Brooklyn]. Hopefully, we’ll assess him when we get back,” coach Jacque Vaughn said. “But he will not play Charlotte, so no need to fly him. Just thinking it through, keep them there, see what happens in these next three days.”
Ben Simmons (non-COVID illness) and Edmond Sumner (right thumb contusion) both are probable for the Nets on Saturday. David Duke Jr., Kessler Edwards and Alondes Williams are all out on G-League assignment.
“Ben did not practice. … [We left him] back at the hotel. Best to keep in there. He’ll fly with us to Charlotte,” Vaughn had said before the team released an injury report. “I guess [Charlotte] could be up in the air as one of those non-COVID [illnesses]. I’m not even sure we’ll list him, but all signs point towards him playing.”
Speaking of that practice, the Nets worked out at Overtime Elite in Atlanta. Kevin Durant — along with the likes of Drake and Amazon owner Jeff Bezos — invested heavily in Overtime, the startup for high school sports. The Nets star took particular joy in seeing the glistening facilities Elite boasts.
“Yeah it’s new day, baby. There’s a lot of money put in put it in. It’s incredible,” Durant told The Post. “[This didn’t exist] when I was coming out 15, 16 years ago. So it’s a fairly new idea. For you to see it come to fruition so fast, man its incredible.“Yeah, it’s a very proud moment to walk in here and see all this, because you see where the game is going now. There’s just so many different avenues for these kids to pursue their dream. This [stuff] is incredible. Coming out of high school you’ve got the option to come here and work on your game every day, still go to school if you want, but make some money. It’s a perfect opportunity.”
Yuta Watanabe is shooting a white-hot 52.3 percent from deep. He was leading the league in 3-point shooting before he got hurt and just misses qualifying right now by a single 3. Watanabe has made 34, and needs one for every game the Nets have played, so 35, according to the league website.
The Japanese forward said that back home New Year’s Eve is more of a family holiday than Christmas. He plans to FaceTime with his parents and family Saturday morning.
“In the morning. It’ll be their midnight,” Watanabe told The Post. “They’ll be 14 hours ahead.”
Atlanta’s Bogdan Bogdanovic was fined $25,000 Friday afternoon for kicking the game ball into the stands at the end of the Nets’ 108-107 win over the Hawks on Wednesday night.