Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn Nets and the biggest flop in NBA history

Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn Nets and the biggest flop in NBA history

Kevin Duranta basketball player who was 10 times All-NBA, once MVP, four times top scorer in the NBA and who is in all the rankings of the best forwards in the history of the league, along with Kyrie Irvingthree times All-NBA, key in a champion team, averaging more than 23 points and 5 assists per game throughout his career.

Brooklyn networks took the reins of the 2019 NBA Free Agency with two impact blows that no one expected from a franchise that had only won one Playoff game in the previous five years and suddenly scored as a candidate to be short-term champion, beyond the fact that Durant was not going to be able to play the 2019-2020 season due to injury.

To the owner joe tsai He did not mind making any type of economic expenditure in order to get closer to the title, as his predecessor had done Mikhail Prokhorov in 2013 when the franchise, fresh from New Jersey to Brooklyn, brought on veterans Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry other former All-Stars like Deron Williams and Joe Johnson.

That Brooklyn attempt from almost a decade ago caught the attention of the entire league, impacting a giant market and basketball DNA like New York, but it didn’t produce results: the Nets mortgaged their future in exchange for a single series won in the Playoffs (against the Toronto Raptors 4-3 in 2014).

Once they got out of the well, with a great job commanded by the GM be brandsthe Nets put a lot of chips back on the roulette table. And they even doubled down while the first ball was still rolling, bringing in james harden. But the first shot went wrong (for very little) and the second toois already in a more fragile position.

Now the future is neither bright nor dark: it is very uncertain. And the present speaks of a resounding failure as they have rarely been seen in the NBA, qualifying as worst of all if Durant leaves right now.

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Yes, other superstar teams have the Rockets of the late 1990s, the 2012-2013 Lakers and other projects, including the 2021-2022 Lakers with LeBron James, Russell Westbrook and Anthony Davis. Those teams already had some names out of their prime or at least went further in the playoffs and also gave their fans more joy and spectacle on a day-to-day basis.

What these Nets ended up manufacturing the most was drama. Durant had great performances with the team, more than anything in the 2021 Playoffs in which they were inches away from eliminating the later champion Milwaukee Bucks. But in three years he barely played 102 games between Regular Phase and Playoffs. Irvingwith all the controversy generated by his decision not to get vaccinated, he disputed 116 encounters. And James Harden 89.

Between the three they barely shared 16 parties and successfully: they won 13. But it all fell apart off the floor, with Durant’s trade request directly to Joe Tsai the last brick. Y everyone in Brooklyn bears their responsibility for failure. Such a team armed to end a swept at the hands of a Boston Celtics built through the Draftwith only seven Playoff wins obtained in three years.

Players can leave and that’s it, with just a few opaque pages in their history as they already did Durant and Irving when they left other franchises in the past: the board has the day after.

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Harden left in exchange for Ben Simmons (with three years of contract ahead and more than a year of inactivity), who they say that Brooklyn does not plan to transfer, Draft picks and seth curry (He will be a free agent in 2023). A price lower than what they paid for it. What could they get for Irving and Durant if they wanted to finish tearing everything down?

With the current scenario, the future of the Nets hardly goes through the Draft: Brooklyn has two first-round picks left in its future from the 2023 Draft (one from the Philadelphia 76ers and one of its own or from Houston, the Rockets’ choice), one from 2025 (which Houston can also choose to trade) and two from 2027 (Philadelphia’s, protected top 8, and their own, which Houston can trade).

Situation similar to the post Garnett era, Pierce and company, with the difference that now the Draft selections could return although not their ownunless they trade with the Rockets. And as long as Irving doesn’t end up leaving as a free agent in 2023.

The other option is build something around Simmons and other young talent (DeAndre Ayton and Donovan Mitchell’s names have been mentioned), with a lower profile and medium expectations, something Brooklyn hasn’t known since the move: either he didn’t, like in the Kenny Atkinson era, or he dreamed absolutely big only to crash.

The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily represent the NBA or its organizations.


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