The Brooklyn Nets were once seen as true contenders for an NBA championship shortly after they managed to pair Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant together.
A couple years later, it seems quite apparent that the Nets are more likely to blow up the current roster completely and start a rebuild than win an NBA title anytime soon.
According to former NBA sharpshooter J.J. Redick, the Nets’ struggles are a clear example of when player empowerment goes too far. He used the team’s decision to trade away stud big man Jarrett Allen to the Cleveland Cavaliers last year as part of the trade that sent James Harden to the Nets.
Of course, Harden is no longer on the team.
.@jj_redick on Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant:
"I am a fan of the player empowerment era. … What has happened with the Nets since they signed Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving is a great example of player empowerment gone too far." pic.twitter.com/MKHHc1C2Qc
— First Take (@FirstTake) November 2, 2022
“They insisted that DeAndre [Jordan] play over Jarrett Allen.” he said. “Jarrett Allen is an All-Star right now.”
It’s been shocking to see how far the expectations have fallen for the Nets over the last couple of years. They entered the 2021-22 NBA season as title favorites and ended up getting swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Boston Celtics.
So far this season, a playoff berth does not look to be in the team’s future. The Nets currently have a 2-6 record. For the Nets to be anywhere near teams like the Detroit Pistons and Orlando Magic in the standings is shocking and unacceptable for the franchise.
To make matters worse, the Nets can’t seem to rid themselves of off-court drama. Most recently, former Cavs star Irving was heavily criticized for promoting an anti-Semitic film on his personal Twitter page.
He then, in classic fashion, tried to completely skirt blame by claiming that he’s been misunderstood and misrepresented by the press.
It’s the same old story for Irving, who has been a headache for whatever team he’s played on ever since he requested a trade from the Cavs back in 2017.
As for Durant, he’s remained fairly quiet so far this season, but it is abundantly clear now that he cannot lead a team despite being one of the best players in basketball. He’s currently averaging 32.5 points, 5.6 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game. Despite that impressive level of production, his team cannot get it right.
At this point, it’s hard to know where the Nets will go from here. With the departure of former head coach Steve Nash and likely hiring of Ime Udoka, a culture shift seems to be on the horizon.
However, Udoka brings his own controversy thanks to allegations of sexual misconduct during his time with the Celtics.
Whatever happens from here on out for the Nets, it seems clear that the main story may continue to take place off the court rather than on it.
As for the Cavs, they’re 5-1 on the season and sitting at the No. 2 seed in the East.