The Golden State Warriors and Brooklyn Nets, two teams who underwent seismic changes during the offseason, meet Wednesday night in Brooklyn.
The Nets added Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant while Golden State added D'Angelo Russell to pair him in the backcourt with Stephen Curry.
However, Irving, Durant and Curry are not playing due to injuries. Durant is recovering from an Achilles injury that likely keeps him from playing this season; Irving will miss his 30th game of the season due to a sprained right knee; and Curry is recovering from a broken left hand he sustained four games into the season.
Injuries have limited Russell to 32 games, the latest being a strained right quadriceps that kept him out of Monday's 125-117 win in Washington.
He is averaging a career-high 23.8 points. That includes a 52-point game on Nov. 8 at Minnesota, one of the teams rumored to be interested in acquiring the guard.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Tuesday that Russell would play in Brooklyn, but Russell could be held out of the game if trade talks continue to progress with the Timberwolves or other suitors.
If he is in the building Wednesday, Russell should get a warm hand from Nets fans who watched him average 21.1 points last season when Brooklyn won 42 games and reached the playoffs for the first time since 2015.
"It's no fun having your name mentioned in trade talks," Kerr said. "I can speak from experience. It's sort of a jarring thing when you read about yourself and the possibility that you might be moved."
Without Russell, the Warriors won consecutive games for the second time this season by getting 30 points from Alec Burks and 22 from Glenn Robinson III, two players who could also be moved before the deadline.
Irving was injured when he collided with Bradley Beal in the fourth quarter of Saturday's loss in Washington. Irving's latest injury occurred after he scored 54 points in a 15-point home win over Chicago on Friday.
The Nets are 14-15 in games Irving has missed. Brooklyn also is 4-2 in its last six games overall since losing 12 of 14 from Dec. 26-Jan. 23.
On Monday, the Nets took control in the third quarter with a 22-4 run and recorded a 119-97 win over the Phoenix Suns.
Caris LeVert was moved to the starting lineup for the first time since returning from a right thumb injury on Jan. 4, and the move paid off as he tied a career high with 29 points while shooting 10 of 20 from the floor.
"I just felt like I was aggressive," LeVert said. "Obviously I played a little more minutes with some guys out, so it was good getting out there playing. It felt good. It especially felt good to get the win."
The Nets matched their largest margin of victory and are hoping to get a fourth straight home win before making visits to Toronto on Saturday and Indiana on Monday.
"We have to start getting back some wins we left along the way, so this is a good start," Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said. "It's an important week for us, so I think the guys felt that. They felt the sense of urgency."
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