Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving's time in Brooklyn together yielded just one playoff series win and 44 games where both playedGetty Images
The Kevin Durant-Kyrie Irving era at the Nets "ended Thursday in almost the same bombshell fashion that it began exactly three years ago," after Durant called Nets Owner Joe Tsai "asking for a trade," according to Barbara Barker of NEWSDAY. While Nets GM Sean Marks is "sure to get some quality pieces and picks for Durant," it "doesn't change the fact that the Durant-Irving era was a failure of epic proportions." One playoff series win and just 44 games where Durant and Irving played together over the last three seasons is "all the Nets got out of winning one of the biggest sweepstakes in the history of free agency." The Nets "basically gave Durant the keys to the castle." They brought along Irving, "his best friend in the deal," and they "kicked their coach Kenny Atkinson to the curb in favor of Durant's buddy, Steve Nash." They also traded away young stars like Jarrett Allen and Caris LaVert for James Harden last season, which, in retrospect, "may be the biggest thing you can fault them for in this whole mess" (NEWSDAY, 6/30). In N.Y., Mike Vaccaro writes Durant's trade request is a "basketball calamity, a basketball catastrophe, a basketball cataclysm." It means the end of an "experiment that always seemed based on spec, always felt heavy on what-ifs and what-might-bes." Vaccaro: "It was Durant the de facto GM who made Irving's acquisition an essential part of his willingness to play at Barclays Center" (N.Y. POST, 7/1).
NOT A GOOD LOOK: SI.com's Robin Lundberg wrote this is an "epically embarrassing situation for the Nets." SI.com's Chris Mannix wrote the Durant/Kyrie/Harden trio has "surpassed the Kobe Bryant/Steve Nash/Dwight Howard coupling as the biggest failure in modern NBA history." SI.com's Howard Beck on where it went wrong for the Nets: "Maybe the moment the Nets signed DeAndre Jordan to a $40 million deal, at the insistence of Durant and Irving back in 2019. Or the moment they fired Kenny Atkinson, because Atkinson wanted to start Jarrett Allen over Jordan, which soured his relationship with Durant and Irving. ... The Nets ceded authority to their stars long ago, and have been paying the price ever since" (SI.com, 6/30).