A pouting James Harden was traded to the Brooklyn Nets almost two years in the past to the day. Means again in January 2021, earlier than the COVID vaccine card went mainstream, the latest tremendous staff was Harden, Kevin Durant, and Kyrie Irving. It’s now Tremendous Bowl week 2023. A few of you all have vaccine playing cards stamped like a well-traveled passport. Irving nonetheless hasn’t been vaccinated, and he’s additionally now not a Internet. Harden was traded on the deadline final 12 months and whereas most of New York was asleep with no intention of caring in regards to the Nets within the morning, Durant was traded to the Phoenix Suns.
One redeemable high quality that the NBA has over the NFL is that it’s significantly better at ridding itself of embarrassing staff house owners. Dan Snyder nonetheless owns the Washington soccer franchise after the NFL determined to have the outcomes of an unbiased investigation about his poisonous office delivered orally to Commissioner Roger Goodell in the summertime of 2021. In September 2022, the NBA launched to the general public the findings of an unbiased investigation into Robert Sarver’s poisonous office. On Feb. 7, 2023, a deal for Mat Ishiba to buy the Suns and the Phoenix Mercury of the WNBA was accomplished.
Phoenix Suns get new proprietor, Kevin Durant
A day later he acquired probably the greatest gamers within the historical past of the NBA. The Suns traded Cam Johnson, ironman Mikal Bridges (right here is your prize for by no means lacking a recreation), Jae Crowder, and 4 unprotected first-round picks to the Nets for Durant and T.J. Warren.
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So much for a super team
Back to the Nets. Fetty Wap would like some notes on how to flame out this quickly. For the second time in their 11 seasons in Brooklyn, the Nets’ version of a “super team,” was only able to win one playoff round as a group.
It would have been unwise to expect a championship from the first version of the Brooklyn Nets. Mikhail Prokhorov spent millions of dollars and years of draft capital to acquire past their prime veterans Deron Williams, Kevin Garnett, Joe Johnson, and Paul Pierce. They beat the Toronto Raptors in a seven-game first-round series in 2014, and then lost to LeBron James and the Miami Heat in five.
In 2019 Prokhorov sold the final 51 p.c share of the Nets to Joe Tsai who had purchased the opposite 49 p.c in 2018. Within the weeks main as much as the completion of the sale, the Nets signed Irving, Durant who had ruptured an Achilles tendon within the NBA Finals, and DeAndre Jordan as a result of three for completion. Duh.
Durant took the ground for the Nets three days earlier than Christmas in 2020. Just a few weeks later the Nets traded for Harden. They had been a favourite heading into the 2021 NBA Playoffs. The Nets rolled the Boston Celtics within the first spherical and didn’t exit within the second spherical almost as simply because the Pierce and Garnett 2014 staff did. Even with accidents to Harden and Irving, the Nets nonetheless pushed the eventual NBA Champion Milwaukee Bucks to seven video games.
Massive three with nothing to point out for it
This incarnation of the Nets would go on to by no means win one other playoff recreation collectively. Irving missed half of the next season due to his vaccine opposition, and Harden needed out earlier than the following commerce deadline. This “Massive Three” shared a court docket for a grand whole of 16 video games, together with the playoffs.
Presently, probably the most newsworthy title on the Nets’ roster is Cam Thomas. At the very least his 40 or extra factors in three consecutive video games leaves one attention-grabbing on-court dialogue in Brooklyn.
The Nets’ first try at fast staff constructing was an inexpensive failure. In a brand new metropolis and a brand new constructing, the Nets wanted to construct some buzz so that they wouldn’t find yourself like New York’s Clippers. However years later they really assembled a championship-caliber staff. A staff with three stars that ended up not enjoying a full season’s price of NFL video games collectively.
What a multitude these final 4 seasons have been. If I used to be Kenny Atkinson I might have stayed in Golden State too after lately being skunked by this franchise. It’s the Nets’ 11th season in New York and never solely are they nonetheless second-place in fan curiosity within the tri-state space, however in addition they seem like the second-best run franchise as effectively. And their solely competitors is James Dolan.
Possibly Joe Tsai can construct a greater band — JT and the Flameouts.