With Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, the Brooklyn Nets have two of the NBA's premier superstars. Together, on the court, there is no limit to what they can do together, and they have shown flashes of their potential when at the top of their game.
Unfortunately, off-court drama has gotten in the way of their partnership, and the entire team spent the summer on the verge of a collapse.
Now that things have somewhat calmed down, people around the league are wondering what to expect from the Nets, who are good on paper but riddled with questions about the situation in that locker room.
NBA analyst Marc Spears is excited to see how it all unfolds for the squad.
"Media day is gonna be amazing in Brooklyn. You have the hug from KD, Nash, and Sean Marks. Did that hug really mean anything? Are they really good now? Obviously, this is the aftermath of the drama with Kyrie Irving last season. And then there's Ben Simmons' return. And I am told that he is expected to be ready for the beginning of the season. Ben Simmons is their third story line and he's probably bigger than most storylines in the league. So media day with the Nets is gonna be amazing, it's gonna be crazy, but winning cures all ills. If Brooklyn gets off to a great start I think they could go forward and try to win a championship. But if it's all bad there, oh boy, that New York press is gonna have a field day."
Of course, the Nets didn't do much to get substantially better than a year ago. Besides a few acquisitions, they hardly made any moves besides working to keep their core intact.
And even with that, the Nets can look and feel good about where they stand heading into the new season -- but that doesn't mean there won't be some hiccups along the way.
With the caveat that no one should be surprised if, at any point during next season, GM Sean Marks or coach Steve Nash get cashiered, or Durant winds up with a new address, for now an uneasy truce has squashed his trade request. Brooklyn can at least begin the season hoping that it can bring it's disparate (originally autocorrected to “desperate,” which might be more accurate) parties together. It’s hard to see that happening, given the strong personalities involved. We all know KD and Kyrie blaze their own paths, but majority owner Joseph Tsai is no shrinking flower himself. And Tsai basically shut down any notion that the Nets would give Durant away, if at all, for pennies on the dollar. So, I can’t just pretend like the last six weeks didn’t happen, and that there hasn’t been at least some damage to very important internal relationships.
Nobody can really blame Durant for wanting out of Brooklyn. He didn't sign up for all the turmoil and drama that has unfolded there so far, and there's no questioning that it has taken a toll on every member of the team.
But if KD and Kyrie can come together and play at their best, it might just be enough to make up for a disastrous summer. Either way, don't be shocked if the Nets make some noise to start the 2022-23 season.