The 2021-2022 season with the big three
The season before, Kyrie and Kevin Durant decided to team up in Brooklyn, hoping to form a championship team. Kevin Durant had torn his Achilles the year prior, so Kyrie played the season without him. The next year Kevin Durant returned, and the Nets made a blockbuster trade midway through the season.
The Nets made a trade for superstar shooting guard of the Houston Rockets, James Harden. The three-team trade consisted of the Nets giving up young center Jarrett Allen and forward Tauren Prince to the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Nets sent young guard Caris LeVert, and forward Rodions Kurucs as well as three first-round picks and four first-round pick swaps to the Rockets. The Nets gave up all these plays in picks to receive James Harden from the Rockets.
This trade shocked the NBA world, and the Nets were seen as heavy favorites to win the NBA finals. Despite having three of the top ten players in the league, they were unable to make it past the second round of the playoffs due to injuries of James Harden and Kyrie Irving.
The Big Three Break Up
The Nets struggled this past season due to injuries and players’ issues. Kyrie Irving refused to get vaccinated, which in the state of New York does not allow for a player to participate in home games. Due to this rule, Kyrie Irving became the first part-time player in NBA history.
This hurt team chemistry drastically as they were not able to play together all the time. Kevin Durant also ended up suffering a knee injury which sidelined him for a good portion of the season, leaving James Harden to play many home games by himself.
Due to this, James Harden became frustrated with the team and did not believe they were going in the right direction as far as being a championship team. The locker room began to get frantic, and it was not long before the Nets decided to trade Harden to the Philadelphia 76ers.
The details of the trade were the following: the Nets gave up Paul Millsap and James Harden in exchange for Ben Simmons, Andre Drummond, Seth Curry, and two first-round picks.
Ben Simmons was out all season, and the Nets ended up getting swept by the two-seed Boston Celtics, despite New York allowing Kyrie to play in home games.
Will Kyrie Return?
After a chaotic first few seasons with the Brooklyn Nets, Kyrie Irving announced that he will be testing free agency. The possible suitors for him are the Lakers and Knicks if he does not return to Brooklyn.
The question is, where does the Net’s future lie if Kyrie leaves? If Kyrie joins a different team, that leaves Kevin Durant to play with Ben Simmons, who has not proven or shown that he wants to play basketball at a high competitive level. Simmons sat out the entire past season due to mental health and back problems.
This would cause the Nets to have to make some very important decisions with roster spots and what direction to go in.