And just like that, it’s over.
Days after trading Kyrie Irving to the Dallas Mavericks, the Nets have reportedly reached a deal that sends superstar forward Kevin Durant to the Phoenix Suns.
The Nets will get emerging forward Mikal Bridges, 3-and-D wing Cam Johnson, veteran forward Jae Crowder and four first-round picks, as well as additional second-round pick compensation as part of the deal. First-round picks are unprotected in 2023, 2025, 2027 and 2029, according to ESPN. The Nets also receive trade rights for Phoenix’s first-round pick in 2028.
The superstar days in Brooklyn are over. Such are the days of competing for a championship.
And it’s unclear if the Nets will ever be able to sell another superstar-caliber talent to come to Brooklyn in the near future.
Including James Harden, who forced a trade to Philadelphia last season, all three superstars set to play for the Nets requested trades within a year.
The Daily News was the first to report the eventuality of both Irving and Durant requesting trades.
Make no mistake: Brooklyn’s championship hopes are gone.
Without the superstar power that both Irving and Durant brought to the court, the Nets are now a notch below the elite teams in the Eastern Conference.
The Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks, Philadelphia 76ers, Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat all project to outplay the Nets in the second half of the season after two seismic trades that shifted the balance of power West.
Not to mention the Knicks, who are suddenly the best basketball team on paper and trail the Nets by just three games in the standings.
Durant requested an offseason trade frustrated with the management of a franchise that had fallen short of expectations two seasons in a row. It became clear that the Nets were ready to swing away from the championship race after they traded Irving, who said in his introductory press conference in Dallas that he felt disrespected by the way the organization was treating a star of his caliber.
Durant had missed a month of action due to an MCL sprain in his right knee. He’s averaging 29.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game in Brooklyn this season.