If there's a franchise in the NBA that can complain about a case of some whiplash, it's the Brooklyn Nets. The team has been through three summer's worth of turmoil all in one offseason. It all started with talks about Kyrie Irving not opting into the final year of his contract. He eventually did that, but Kevin Durant almost immediately dropped a bomb of his own by requesting a trade away from the team.
A protracted and messy saga followed, during which KD famously asked for Head Coach Steve Nash and General Manager Sean Marks to be fired. The Nets looked for a trade for Durant, and many options were considered, but ultimately a suitable deal for his value could not be found. After a summer of speculation, the Nets finally released a statement that everyone was staying and that they would give it another shot.
NBA Analyst Lists How Next Season Will Be Weird For Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, And Steve Nash
Now, on paper, with a returning Ben Simmons, and the core of last season's team intact, the Nets are still among the favorites in the Eastern Conference. But after so much drama took place over the summer, it won't be that simple. And The Athletic's Joe Vardon detailed the reasons why that is the case.
"At first, the Nets told Durant they’d work with him to fill his trade request. They took calls and fielded offers, but at every turn made outrageous demands of potential trade partners. They knew they could go back to Durant, shrug their shoulders and say, “Sorry, champ, we tried. You’re just too valuable.”
"All the while knowing they were never serious. If they were, they would have taken a serious look at Boston’s offer of Jaylen Brown and Derrick White and negotiated from there.
"As you know, the Nets’ summer ended with Durant still in Brooklyn. And Irving. And Nash and Marks. Nash has to coach this team knowing his best player wanted him fired. Durant has to play knowing 1.) The Nets did not seemingly make a good-faith effort to deal him; 2.) His friend Irving could be out the door, if not this year in a trade, then next summer as a free agent."
There are a lot of unresolved situations within the franchise, so it's hard to tell if they will be able to salvage that. This is with the understanding that no further controversy will arise, which is never a guarantee with Kyrie Irving around. Ultimately, the start to the season will likely make or break this Nets team, and it's hard not to wonder if their playing well be more entertaining than another dramatic explosion.