Right here’s a take a look at how issues went south for the Nets after Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving signed with them three years in the past:
June 30, 2019: The 2 stars decide to the Nets in free company (together with middle — and pal of theirs — DeAndre Jordan), infusing Brooklyn with the hope of championship competition.
Feb. 20, 2020: With Durant already out for the complete season due to his Achilles surgical procedure rehab, Irving opts for season-ending shoulder surgical procedure. He solely performs 20 video games the entire season.
March 7, 2020: The Nets stunningly fireplace coach Kenny Atkinson, with Irving amongst those that contributed to the choice. Jacque Vaughn replaces Atkinson on an interim foundation, however after the season, the Nets rent Steve Nash to educate a championship-or-bust crew, regardless of Nash having by no means coached earlier than in his life.
Jan. 13, 2021: In a deal that prices the Nets a fortune — not solely Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen but additionally three first-round draft picks and 4 draft-pick swaps — Brooklyn acquires James Harden from Houston to type a Massive 3 with Durant and Irving. Harden largely performs effectively, however he hurts his hamstring within the playoffs versus the Bucks, reveals up off form for coaching camp at the beginning of the subsequent season, declines to signal an extension and ultimately forces a commerce out of Brooklyn.
Kyrie Irving and Kevin DurantMarty Jean-Louis/Sipa USA
June 19, 2021: After taking a 3-2 lead within the Japanese Convention semifinals towards the Bucks, the Nets fail to win one other playoff sport in the course of the Durant/Irving/Harden period. With Irving out with a sprained ankle and Harden hampered by a hamstring harm, they lose Recreation 6 in Milwaukee, then fall in a crushing Recreation 7 time beyond regulation defeat at Barclays Heart.
Coaching camp, 2021: Irving declines to get vaccinated towards COVID-19, making him ineligible to play in any video games in New York Metropolis in the course of the upcoming season. GM Sean Marks then declares Irving might be away from the crew as a result of the group is “not in search of companions which are going to be half-time.” After all, the Nets then collapse December, permitting Irving to return for street video games.
Feb. 10, 2022: The Nets commerce Harden to Philadelphia, ending theBig 3 —with the first return piece Ben Simmons … who then suffers a again harm that retains him out for the remainder of the season. Simmons nonetheless has not performed a sport for the Nets.
April 25, 2022: The Nets are swept by the Celtics within the first spherical of the playoffs, changing into the NBA’s solely 2021-22 postseason crew to not win a playoff sport. Including to the humiliation, the Celtics are coached by Ime Udoka, Nash’s former assistant. Additional embarrassment ensues when the Celtics and Warriors — Irving’s and Durant’s former groups — meet within the NBA Finals.
Kevin Durant (left) and Kyrie IrvingGetty Pictures
Might 11, 2022: In his season-ending remarks, Marks says the Nets need gamers to “be a part of one thing greater than themselves, play selfless, play crew basketball and be obtainable.” Marks provides, “That goes not just for Kyrie, however for everyone else,” although it’s clear that it’s primarily directed to Irving and his potential free company.
Monday: Irving is granted permission to hunt a sign-and-trade, however — discovering nothing appropriate due to a largely league-wide lack of curiosity — elects to choose in to the ultimate season of his contract since he received’t need to compromise any of his wage.
Thursday: Durant requests a commerce out of Brooklyn, all however ending his tenure right here (and certain Irving’s as effectively), for the reason that Nets plan to attempt to transfer him.