The old, terrible, hopeless Brooklyn Nets, who are dead last in the entire league with an embarrassing 20-61 record, have announced they will sit six of their players in their last game against the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night, including starters Jeremy Lin and Brook Lopez, as well as bench guy Trevor Booker. Three other players—Quincy Acy, Joe Harris, and Sean Kilpatrick—are sitting out due to injury.
With the Bulls fighting the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers for the final two Eastern Conference playoff spots, they clearly stand to benefit from the Nets not even pretending to care about this last game of the season. If the Bulls win they’ll earn a playoff berth. The Pacers need a win over the Atlanta Hawks, who’ve already locked up a spot in the playoffs, while the Heat must beat the tough but dilapidated Wizards, and have either the Bulls or Pacers lose. The Heat are definitely on the losing end of the Nets’ indecipherable roster decisions.
Teams have plenty of reasons to rest players, but the Nets have nothing to gain. They are light years away from the playoffs, so there’s no utility to the rest; according to Nets Daily, another loss wouldn’t help their chances of getting another second-round pick, so they’re not tanking; it’s not part of a back-to-back road game, so they’re not worried about increased risk of injury.
So what’s going on here? Are they making a statement about the length of the season? Are they throwing a few vets a bone by not making them fly to Chicago to get owned? Did the Bulls pay them off? Perhaps the simplest explanation is the correct one: They want to troll the city of Chicago with some truly horrendous basketball.