From all stars to no stars: Durant and Irving leave the Nets


Maxim Pierre, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Brooklyn Nets roster, once destined for greatness, has fans feeling disappointed following this offseason’s trades.

Maya Phillips, Lead Opinion Editor

This NBA trade deadline left many basketball fans speechless. On Feb. 6 All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving demanded to be traded from his former team, the Brooklyn Nets. This came as a shock to the Nets front office with Irving set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. On the final day of the trade deadline, the NBA fandom was in disbelief once again when it was reported that Kevin Durant was being traded from the Nets to the Phoenix Suns.  The Net’s once star-studded roster was destined for greatness. Durant, Irving, and James Harden were supposed to bring a championship to Brooklyn, but they had little success. The demise of the emphasis trio marks the end of a promising but ultimately disappointing era for the Nets, marked by constant scandal, frequent absences, and internal descent. 

“It was pathetic. They had everything in their favor and they just blew it. I don’t understand how that happened,” said avid Nets fan, Cameron Lovett ‘23. 

Irving’s tenure with the Nets will be remembered more for his off-court controversies than his on-court contributions. Irving’s first season in 2019-20 was uneventful, as he played in less than a quarter of the games due to injury. In 2020-21, Irving played in only 29 of the Nets’ 72 games because he refused to get vaccinated against the coronavirus. Additionally, Irving became injured during the playoffs. Before Irving’s final season, he requested a trade. However, Irving rescinded his trade request and opted into the final year of his contract. Following Irving’s antisemitic actions the Nets still found a way to be successful on the court, allowing Brooklyn’s management to look past the off-the-court drama. 

Despite the Nets’ success, Irving demanded a trade days before the trade deadline. In exchange for Irving and Markieff Morris, the Nets received Spencer Dinwiddie and Dorian Finney-Smith from the Dallas Mavericks, in addition to two future second-round picks. That package was meant to complement Durant and win a championship. However, Durant did not have the same vision. He requested a trade shortly after the completion of Irving’s trade and was ultimately sent to Phoenix. 

The Nets received Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson from the Suns, as well as four unprotected first-round picks and a future pick swap. This was part of a four-team deal, including the Indiana Pacers and Milwaukee Bucks. Durant was a constant star player for the Nets. He almost single-handedly willed the Nets past the eventual champion, Milwaukee Bucks, in 2021. “You have got some of the greatest basketball players of all time on one team and you couldn’t bring home one championship,” said Lovett. 

They had everything in their favor and they just blew it. I don’t understand how that happened

— Cameron Lovett

In a press conference, Irving received a question about Durant’s move to the Suns. He disdainfully responded, “I’m glad he got out of there.” 

This trade deadline makes one of the greatest disappointments in NBA history. Although the Nets lost their star players they now have the opportunity to rebuild their team. “I am glad that we have Spencer Dinwiddie back on the Nets. Brooklyn does really well with an underdog team. We had a lot of ball-dominant players on one team and that was definitely not working.  Now the younger guys can get more playing time… I honestly have more faith in this new team. They have a much healthier dynamic, said Lovett.