Months After Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant Abandoned $3.5 Billion Franchise, Analysts Figure Out What Really “Killed” the Nets

Published 09/26/2023, 1:52 AM EDT

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The signing of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving by the Brooklyn Nets created a massive buzz. Things got even more exciting when the Nets acquired James Harden from the Houston Rockets. However, the much-anticipated Big 3 experiment didn’t live up to expectations. The star players only managed to share the court for a mere 16 games. Consequently, the Nets decided to trade Harden for Ben Simmons. A few months later, both Kyrie and Durant made their exits from the team as well.

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Since then, the Nets have faced a barrage of criticism from fans and analysts alike. While some fault their approach to the Big 3, others question the move involving Ben Simmons. However, a recent conversation has delved deeper into the Nets’ recent transactions, offering insights into various aspects of their decision-making process.

Analysts decipher what holds the Nets down after Kyrie Irving and KD trade

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The Nets have left an indelible mark on their history with the trio of Harden, Kyrie, and KD. So, when Brian Windhorst delved into the Nets’ potential for the upcoming season, the conversation naturally gravitated toward the iconic period. While Tim Bontemps argued the Nets’ chances of cracking the top 8 this season, Tim MacMahon found himself reminiscing about the Big Three. He boldly stated that the Nets would re-sign Kyrie and KD “in a heartbeat” despite the less-than-stellar outcome.

His reasoning was grounded in what the Nets gained from these two players. However, he argues the same outcome from James Harden’s overall presence. He said, “The one that really has just killed the Nets is Harden deal.”

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For Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, the Nets acquired a treasure trove of picks. These include 2023, 2025, 2027, and multiple 2029 first-round picks, along with 2027 and 2029 second-round picks and a 2028 first-round swap. Furthermore, they receive various players in, Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Dorian Finney-Smith. 

However, the Nets initially gave up Jarrett Allen and Caris LeVert for James Harden. Additionally, they received Seth Curry, Andre Drummond, and two first-round choices along with Ben Simmons’ hefty contract. Despite his less-than-mediocre performances, the Nets are obligated to pay him a staggering $37,893,408 for the upcoming season.

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It is believed Simmons’ lackluster performance has sent the Nets down an undesirable path. Moreover, they need help trading him due to minimal interest from other teams. Nevertheless, if one were to take Simmons’ words into account, there may be a glimmer of hope for change on the horizon.

Ben Simmons is ready to make a grand comeback

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Ben Simmons has been making public appearances with increasing frequency. It is unlike his recent years, where he has constantly kept to himself despite all the criticism. Contrastingly, there is a prevailing sense of optimism surrounding his impending return to the court this season.

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When taking Simmons at his word, the pieces are falling into place for him to make a compelling comeback story. If he manages to do so, it will unarguably be one of the biggest stories in recent times. Simmons seems poised to make a significant impact on the Nets, precisely the type of player the team is in dire need of at the moment. He has revealed that he will be playing the guard position for the Nets this season.

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In his recent interviews, Simmons has asserted that he owes his return to All-Star form to the public and fans. Furthermore, he exudes confidence in his improved fitness levels. He proclaims that he is now in better shape than in recent years and is primed to make a triumphant return to the hardwood.

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Written by:

Saahil Dhillan

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One take at a time

Saahil Dhillan is an NBA Writer at Essentially Sports. He has been writing articles and blogs for 5 years now, including those for a sports brand that manufactures knee braces, for a Red Bull athlete in 2019 and for a documentary of an Ultra Running Coach in 2021. There’s plenty Saahil can write about why he likes basketball, having followed the NBA for more than 10 years, but he is most keen on picking out various offense/defense strategies, on/off-court decisions, roster changes in crunch time and other underrated key elements that leave an impact on the scoreboard.
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Edited by:

Bilal Handoo

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