The Nets just had possibly one of the busiest weeks in the history of the NBA and certainly the franchise’s history. Kyrie Irving was caught on film at a party after not playing for a week. Kevin Durant is back in full form. Brooklyn said goodbye to cornerstone pieces that helped mold the team to what it is today. Oh… the James Harden era in Brooklyn is a real thing now.
The Nets landed Harden in a huge blockbuster trade on Wednesday. It was becoming more and more apparent that Harden wanted out of Houston. After a press conference following a loss to the Lakers, Houston had no choice but to trade him. Media outlets either saw the new trio working out for title contention or not sharing the ball. While Kyrie Irving was still absent in Harden’s debut against the Magic, it looks like The Beard isn’t afraid to share at all. He logged a triple-double in his first Nets outing with 32 points, 12 rebounds, and 14 assists in a Nets win. This was the first time that a player ever logged a triple-double in their first game with a new team.
It looks like Kyrie will be back sooner than later, but Harden is insurance if Kyrie decides he doesn’t want to play anymore. Harden seemed happy from his first interview with the Nets and was cheering on his teammates from the sidelines when he was off the court. If Harden can continue not to play hero ball, this team will be a nightmare for the Eastern Conference.
Irving did not play in any of the Nets’ three games last week. However, this time fans and the media were not so quick to take his side. The video that surfaced of him at a family party without a mask left many people angry at the six-time All-Star. The idea of the Nets trading Kyrie now that they have Harden is more of a thought than actual reality. It would be irresponsible not to see what three players of Harden, Durant, and Irving’s caliber could look like together. Nonetheless, they don’t need him the way they did before, but they sure would love to have him. Irving will likely be back at some point this week.
The questions of if KD will be able to go back to his old form are answered. He answered them pretty early on, but he is playing at another level right now. In his first appearance with his James Harden, Durant dropped a season-high 42 points. He also helped lead the Nets to a clean sweep of the week. Durant looks like most of the rust has been shaken off at this point. What’s scary to think about is how much more rust he still has to shake off. Durant is averaging 31 points a game right now with no signs of letting up.
Along with control of any first-round picks through 2027, the Nets shipped off Taurean Prince, Rodions Kurucs, Caris LeVert, and Jarrett Allen. Even with the incoming of Harden, Allen and LeVert were difficult to say goodbye to. They were late first-round selections that the Nets shaped into being likely future All-Stars. They came to work every day with a smile and to get better. LeVert and Allen were two of four pieces left from the Nets rebuild that started to take shape in 2018. The other two being Spencer Dinwiddie, who is out for the year with a partially torn ACL, and Joe Harris. Harris might now be the luckiest player in the NBA, now being the fourth option and getting open looks. While the Nets did what they had to do to make the next jump towards a championship, Allen and LeVert will always hold a special place in Nets fans’ hearts.
Never say never, but I don’t know if the Nets can have a more newsworthy week. They traded for a future Hall of Famer, had loads of Kyrie drama, and shipped off two beloved players. All of this while KD looked to be returning to a top-three player in the league. The Nets likely aren’t done making moves, but it’s safe to say they probably aren’t making any more blockbuster ones. They still need to shape out their roster and hopefully add another big man. Jarrett Allen’s departure left a huge hole at the center position that could come back to bite them if they make a deep playoff push. The buyout market, free-agent market, and bad expiring contracts are places to keep an eye on through the next couple of months.
Monday- Bucks 7:30 TNT
Wednesday- Cavs 7:00
Friday- Cavs 7:30
Saturday- Heat 7:30 NBATV