Nets’ grand plans for Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving blow up, expose points NBA house owners need to repair

The previous three seasons have been a debacle for the Brooklyn Nets.

Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant joined the Nets in 2019 — and James Harden in 2021 — with the thought they might contend for championships.

That hasn’t occurred.

The Nets have two first-round losses and a second-round exit to point out for it.

Harden is not with the crew. Durant has requested a commerce. And it is unlikely Irving performs one other sport for the Netswho’re left to select up the items left from an implosion that units the group again 5 seasons and exposes issues to the system NBA house owners might attempt to repair within the subsequent collective bargaining settlement.

Irving and Durant performed simply 57 video games collectively over three seasons, with Durant lacking 2019-20 whereas recovering from a ruptured Achilles sustained within the 2019 Finals when he was with Golden State.

Irving performed in simply 46% of Brooklyn’s video games in three seasons resulting from a wide range of causes, together with private ones, accidents and his refusal to obtain the COVID-19 vaccine, which made him ineligible to play in a majority of residence video games due to New York Metropolis’s mandate.

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Harden, who was acquired in January of 2021, had grown uninterested in the Nets after one yr. He wished out with one-plus seasons left on his contract and bought his want his, going to Philadelphia for one more participant, Ben Simmons, who wished out of his scenario with the Sixers with 4 seasons left on his contract.

Final offseason, Durant signed a four-year, $194.2 million extension with Brooklyn with the primary yr of that extension beginning in 2022-23. So earlier than Durant even performed one sport into that extension, he needs out.

It is easy to see why this bothers NBA house owners.

Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving played in just 57 games together for the Nets.

Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving performed in simply 57 video games collectively for the Nets.

Sure, groups have the flexibility to commerce most gamers at any time, and sure, participant empowerment has been round for a while, as NBA Commissioner Adam Silver famous at All-Star Weekend in February.

“I feel you are coping with conditions the place you might have gamers with actually a novel talent on the planet, and that is all the time going to provide them leverage, and you’ve got groups with leverage,” Silver stated. “There could also be instruments that we are able to consider to create stronger incentives for gamers to adjust to these agreements. However I do not assume there’s type of some silver bullet right here that we’ll go in in collective bargaining and say now we ‘ve mounted this downside. These are human beings.”

Silver walks a fantastic line right here. He’s a gamers ‘commissioner and his relationship his with gamers has helped improved the sport. He listens to their enter. However he additionally works for the house owners, a aggressive group of people attempting to win a championship.

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“Because the commissioner of this league, we wish our gamers to be pleased,” he stated. “We wish them to search out themselves in conditions the place they assume they are often best. On the similar time we need to run an orderly league, and so like numerous issues in life, we’ve to search out the suitable steadiness there.”

It has been urged that house owners might need to recoup cash the sooner a participant is into his contract and a commerce request is honored. However who is aware of if house owners might enact a punitive sufficient deterrent for gamers who’re signing $200 million offers.

Nets proprietor Joe Tsai understands the ever-changing nature of the league and the place gamers need to play. However when Durant signed that extension, there was an inexpensive expectation that he’d play a minimum of one season of the deal, even in an enhanced period of participant empowerment.

(The Nets are usually not innocent both. They enabled Irving and chased a fast path to success, and there are penalties for that).

There may be lasting collateral harm, too. Brooklyn ran off a strong coach in Kenny Atkinson, who had made progress in Brooklyn’s rebuild earlier than Irving and Durant determined they wished a brand new coach. Steve Nash, Atkinson’s substitute, has had his first foray into teaching sabotaged in two seasons.

The Nets commerce first-round draft picks to create a Huge 3 of Durant, Irving and Harden, and as of at this time, they do not have a first-round decide in 2024 and 2026, and so they have given up probably the most favorable of their 2023, 2025 and 2027 draft alternatives in decide swaps.

In fact, they may get first-round picks again in offers for Durant and Irving if that is the way it performs out.

But it surely places the Nets again to the place they had been circa 2017 once they had younger gamers and had been attempting to construct via the draft, savvy free-agent signings and veterans who offered course.

Brooklyn common supervisor Sean Marks took the job in 2016, and 6½ years later, he’s beginning throughout.

The Nets cannot mess it up once more.

Observe Jeff Zillgitt on Twitter @JeffZillgitt.

This text initially appeared on USA TODAY: Nets’ plans for Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving blow up

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