kyrie irving kevin durant
Brad Penner | USA TODAY Sports

So what is ESPN going to talk about on First Take now?

That was my initial thought when news of Kevin Durant’s trade demand broke. Because it has always felt like this Nets team was built to generate content for the hot take-industrial complex first and to pursue championship aspirations second. Which is good, because they were otherworldly at the former and a colossal failure with the latter.

This is where we could be petty and say the Nets are not a real New York sports team. But we won’t do that. Instead, we will declare them what they are: The biggest flop the region has ever seen; a debacle above all others.

Durant will leave here with a permanent stain on his legacy. But at least he has one as an all-time great player. If he can manage to drive his next bus into the Larry O’Brien Depot, or come close, he can just blame this Brooklyn foible on his best friend forever, Kyrie Irving. And that will work for most people. But those who know the true score will not forget: Durant came here thinking he could be LeBron James and bend the universe to his liking. He won one playoff series and whined on Twitter. He failed. Miserably.

As for Irving, he will go down in the same vein as Odell Beckham Jr. — a supremely talented, headache-inducing star surrounded by apologists while stuck in a cycle of self-inflicted disaster. Only more delusional. And, like Beckham, Irving will exit with plenty of good riddance and as nothing more than a footnote in the city’s sporting story.

Sean Marks … maybe he shouldn’t have railroaded Kenny Atkinson and then enabled Durant and Irving? Steve Nash … will not have his job much longer. James Harden … has to be laughing right now. Joseph Tsai … you’re just another bad local owner now. Ben Simmons … well, Stephen A. Smith still needs something to yell about.

What a disgrace. What a waste of time. Now everyone can go back to not caring.

James Kratch can be reached at



James Kratch is the managing editor of ESNY. He previously worked as a Rutgers and Giants (and Mike Francesa) beat reporter for NJ Advance Media.