There was a time, not too long ago, in which the Brooklyn Nets were one of, if not the worst team in the NBA. At the time, they had an incredibly bleak future, with the Boston Celtics owning all their first round picks in the near future. In the 2015, ’16 and ‘7 seasons, the Nets won 21, 20 and 28 games.
Then, miraculously things started to turn around. Led by an exciting young core featuring De’Angelo Russell, Caris Levert and Spencer Dinwiddie, there seemed to be some hope. Brooklyn finished 42-40 that season, good enough for the sixth seed and a playoff berth.
The following offseason, the Nets surprised the entire NBA. In a shocking move, the team completely changed the roster after landing two star free agents in Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. In just two years, the Nets went from one of the least impressive franchises in the league to a legitimate title contender.
The first year didn’t go too well, but that was to be expected. Kevin Durant missed the entire season recovering from a torn achillies, and Kyrie Irving tried to lead the team to the playoffs while battling his own injuries.
The following season, Brooklyn landed yet another superstar, acquiring James Harden from the Houston Rockets. With this move, expectations for this new big three were understandably high. Many fans considered them a lock to win the NBA Finals.
Unfortunately, things don’t always work out. They definitely haven’t for the Nets. Harden requested a trade out of Brooklyn, and now resides in Philadelphia. Brooklyn was able to get Ben Simmons in return, but he still hasn’t hit the hardwood in a Nets jersey. Kyrie and Durant finally played in the playoffs together last season, and they didn’t win a single game.
Now, we’ve made it to the 2022 offseason. Kevin Durant has requested a trade. Kyrie Irving received permission from the Nets to seek a sign and trade. The only superstar who hasn’t tried to leave yet is Simmons, but he hasn’t played in over a year. So the question on everyone’s mind now is, where do the Brooklyn Nets go from here this offseason?
Option 1: Trade Both
So what can the Brooklyn Nets do this offseason? Their first option is to trade both Irving and Durant, and potentially build a new core around Ben Simmons. The roster isn’t barren outside of their two stars, and they do have some solid pieces to build around.
Brooklyn lost a ton of assets and first round picks when trading for Harden, but by trading both Durant and Irving, they could set themselves up for a very exciting future. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen a player of Durant’s caliber get traded, and the return for him alone would be massive. Add in the return for Kyrie, and the Nets might be looking at a short, successful rebuild.
Option 2: Keep Either Durant or Irving
The next option Brooklyn Nets could take this offseason is to trade one of the two. As of now, Kevin Durant has formally requested a trade. Durant is 33, but he’s under contract for four more years so any team trading for him won’t have to worry about losing him to free agency anytime soon. Kevin is still a top-10 player in the league, so any trade for him will have a ton of assets heading back to the Brooklyn Nets
Kyrie is a bit of a different conversation. He opted into a player option, making this the last year of his contract. He’ll be a free agent after this season. Irving’s off-the-court decisions are his own, but they will factor into the minds of other teams possibly trading for him.
Option 3: Keep Both
Their third option is to keep both players. As of now, this looks like the most likely option. Kyrie Irving’s contract situation gives the Nets little to no leverage on the trade market, as many teams would likely rather wait a year to sign him instead of giving up assets for a rental.
Durant on the other hand is a much more secure situation. Durant is under Brooklyn’s control until he’s 37, so the Nets can keep him on the roster for the next four years if they would like to. Ultimately, this is a very tricky situation, and the rise and fall of this franchise has been both immediate and unfortunate. No matter which route Brooklyn’s front office takes though, they should come out of it in a good situation.