Have the Nets Finally Learned Their Lesson?
By Lenn Robbins, The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com
While most of the NBA’s 30 franchises were trying to improve themselves Thursday night, the one that calls Barclays Center home was imploding. Again.
While the rest of the NBA’s 30 franchises have come to the realization that bringing in a Big 3 to make a run at a ring is flawed thinking, the one that calls Barclays Center home was wondering how it was going to fill that state-of-the-art arena in 2023 and beyond. Again.
While the rest of the NBA’s 30 franchises were building or shoring up its core, the one that calls Barclays Center home was painfully acknowledging that it is on the precipice of not having any core. And it had no picks in the 2022 NBA Draft to try to begin the painstaking steps of rebuilding. Again.
While the rest of the NBA’s 30 franchises were working on trades, Kyrie Irving was working on a sign and trade, and Kevin Garnett was working on keeping a low profile as the “super team” he helped construct was crumbling at his size 18 feet.
It was just a few years ago that the Nets had a terrific core of talented young players – Jarrett Allen, Taurean Prince, Caris LeVert, Spencer Dinwiddie, D’Angelo Russell –
who might, we stress, might, have blossomed into a top tier team. Of course, we will never know.
We will never know because unlike the Grizzlies, or the Hawks, or the Pelicans, or the Nuggets, or the Jazz – teams that have drafted well and been patient – the Nets made an NBA Wolf of Wall Street move. Again.
They brought in Durant, even though he was recovering from surgery, Irving, even though he believed himself to be the smartest guy in any room, and James Harden, even though he had proven himself to be regular season stat whore only to find little action in the playoffs.
Harden decided he couldn’t play with Irving. Irving decided he would rather become a COVID 19 vaccine man-of-the-people than honor his contract, and Durant, 33, who usurped LeBron James as best player in the galaxy until last season’s playoffs when he looked all of his 14 NBA seasons, shooting 39.4-percent and averaging 5.3 turnovers.
So while the rest of the NBA’s 30 franchises were hoping to move forward, the Nets had to know they were on the precipice of falling way behind. Again.
It seems like a personality order.
The Nets, like the Jets, Mets, and the Islanders, are second-class citizens, which is still a wonderful standing when your second in the No.1 city in the world. Even though Steve Cohen is writing checks 24/7 to buy a World Series, the Mets, with their more aesthetically-pleasing, reserved-corporate-sponsorship stadium, the Jets, with their utterly inept MetLife
Stadium co-tenant of late, and the Islanders, with their beautiful new UBS
Arena, seemingly have made peace with their status.
The Nets, despite their cool arena, located in the chicest borough in the country, continue to lose their way in the hopes of capturing that one season of glory and throwing some shadow on the Knicks.
Why else do they keep making these failed attempts at assembling a super team, especially when the last two NBA champions – Bucks and Warriors – were built through the draft?
The Nets tried this earlier in the century when they brought in Kevin Garnett (adored working with him), who needed an oxygen tank on the bench, Paul Pierce, who was preparing to embark on his third career as a pot smoking/stripper patron video director, and Jason “The Jet” Terry who was more of a propeller plane. That yielded one playoff series win –one – and it took Pierce blocking Kyle Lowry at the buzzer to make that happen.
Irving has until June 29 to opt in to his $36.5 million buyout. Then he can work on a way out of Brooklyn. Considering the utter distraction known as the Kyrie Way, a SpaceX rocket isn’t fast enough.
Durant, who has been nothing but a pro in Brooklyn, can decide whether to stay or go. Frankly, we’d prefer to see him go to a team missing that final piece rather than see him try to carry a disillusioned franchise on his spindly frame. Harden was addition by attraction.
One of these days the Nets are going to learn there are no shortcuts to winning the Larry O’Brien Trophy. If they didn’t learn that for good Thursday night, one has to think they never will.
1 thought on “Have the Nets Finally Learned Their Lesson?”
The only Net from that original core I could’ve done without was Taurean Prince. I would’ve brought in Durant, but not Kyrie, but Durant wants to follow Irving. You have to see what you can get for both of them.