Call me a Knicks loyalist, a James Dolan apologist (hilarious), whatever. It still doesn’t take away from how the Nets blowing up their team was inevitable.
A lot’s happened in the last few days. Disgruntled and moody Kyrie Irving is headed to Dallas after several battles with Brooklyn’s front office. Early Thursday morning, the Nets made an even more shocking move in sending Kevin Durant to the Suns.
Are we really surprised? It isn’t exactly an expert take that the Durant-Irving Nets failed. If anything, it’s more shocking how everything went so south so fast.
Let’s start at the beginning, when both signed with the Nets as free agents in 2019. Durant planned to sit the season recovering from a torn Achilles, which is fine. Yet, let’s take a look at his exit from the Warriors.
We remember Durant winning two championships on a stacked Warriors team in 2017 and ’18. But what about his bickering with media and arguing with Draymond Green as he approached free agency again? Sure, the two have patched things up, but the cameras were on for the initial argument. There’s no forgetting it.
The same goes for Irving. He’s a great scoring point guard and has been wherever he’s played. However, not without drama. He won a ring with LeBron James in Cleveland and demanded a trade because he didn’t want to live in the four-time champion’s shadow. The Cavaliers traded him to Boston, seemingly granting his wish in sending him to a young team where he could be a veteran leader.
Instead? Irving’s Celtics fell short in the playoffs two years in a row and he signed with Brooklyn despite previously stating he’d stay in Boston. We won’t rehash every scene of his Brooklyn soap opera.
And how about thinking adding James Harden for a whopping 80 games in less than two full seasons was a smart move? What about Harden, Durant, and Irving only playing 16 total games together?
Three-plus years. No titles. No MVP trophies. Just drama and wondering what would have happened if Durant’s toe wasn’t on the line in Game 7. Oh, and let’s not forget getting Spencer Dinwiddie back and also adding Mikal Bridges, plus draft capital.
Nobody will say it, but this endgame was, in a word, inevitable. Irving was always going to want out of Brooklyn, we just didn’t know how or why. Durant would eventually want to leave when he either tired of Irving or a rebuild was coming, whichever came first. Harden’s story getting into and out of Brooklyn looks almost like a bad video game side quest by comparison.
The Nets made their bed and now have to sleep in it. Maybe Bridges can keep the franchise afloat for a bit. Otherwise, the last few years might all have been for nothing.
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