Steve Nash was fired, Sean Marks was disheveled and Kyrie Irving has his fingerprints on dismantling another team with championship aspirations.
That’s three, if you count correctly.
That’s why Kevin Durant realized that this dysfunction wasn’t going to change, that this powder keg of bad ingredients was always going to explode and he tried to get ahead of the gang by asking Brooklyn.
If Durant waived his summer trade request only because he had to, what happened in the first two weeks of this season would give him hope that his worst fears aren’t coming true?
At least players know when they’re in a house on fire, even if they don’t admit it publicly. And Durant has been in the penthouse several times to know that has no chance of changing.
Trading him isn’t something the Nets seem to be considering, but Marks should come back to it if he really wants to operate in the best interest of the organization. Perhaps foolishly, Marks thinks Ime Udoka can save his franchise — the same way Marks saves Udoka from misconduct shame in Boston.
He claims he took no input from the players, but any sane man didn’t have to – Irving didn’t respect this coach (or any, probably), and Durant made his feelings known over the course of the match. ‘summer.
Marks had no answers for Irving in the wake of his latest mess, only that the team is speaking with the Anti-Defamation League on how to proceed, and that Irving would not speak to the media for the next few days.
It seemed like a hint that his disastrous press conference on Saturday, when he was controversial about being asked about posting tweets containing an anti-Semitic film, would be repeated.
Even if Udoka was a great candidate, this is the mess you want your new guy to get into?
“We’re looking for someone with poise, charisma, responsibility,” Marks said. “We are not a finished product. We’re not playing up to our expectations or where we should be, so hopefully this new coach can come here and put this group in the best possible place to succeed.
In a way, it’s a perfect match between two teams, promising beginnings but internal flaws. Udoka and his brand of brutal honesty and connection to the underperforming Boston Celtics helped turn them around after Jan. 1, which resulted in a trip to the NBA Finals.
Does anyone see a list of NBA Finals with these Brooklyn Nets? Nash walked the board, perhaps too inexperienced and in over his head to handle all the drama in his short time.
But there’s hardly any coach who can lead this list through a stacked Eastern Conference, even though Durant is still No. 1 among individual players, alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo and Stephen Curry.
He’s still exceptionally bright, and that basketball brilliance deserves to be more visible than a team with no present or future, it seems. Whether it was his role in choosing Nash as head coach or his partnership with the destructive and suspicious Irving or his commitment to the Nets for another four years while he was not there obliged, he is stuck without help.
“I’m definitely not proud of the situation we’re in. I’d love to turn on ESPN or the TV and not see you talking about us, like that,” Marks said. “I would like to get back into basketball.”
But the basketball is lousy and that would emphasize the poor ground product that led to this, being near the bottom of every major defensive category and on full display in the Nets’ fourth quarter slump against the Bulls. . in the immediate aftermath.
It seemed the recent drama with Irving on Saturday night was the only thing keeping Nash from being fired on Sunday, league sources tell Yahoo Sports, but Irving can’t help Durant save that vision of taking over. New York with wins and vibes to disintegrate.
Irving’s sabbatical is coming up. Set a watch there. He has to take time off and maybe, just maybe, he’ll let the team know this time.
Or maybe not.
And that’s why the Nets should do the right thing here, start reclaiming draft picks and young players by sending Durant to a place where he can best be maxed out.
The Nets acquiesced to Durant over the summer, especially after Utah’s Danny Ainge secured the farm for Rudy Gobert, boosting Durant’s expected return. Neither team was willing to pay the freight given the seriousness of things.
They look worse, but Durant could be rejuvenated in a new zip code and maybe grateful for escaping the NBA’s Arkham Asylum and its version of Two-Face. He’s still productive, but he and Irving are just as bad on the court as they are off, it seems.
Irving is a great soloist, but he can’t max out Durant and Durant shouldn’t be able to be a connector – that was the beauty of James Harden when he was right (man, that was how many years ago time ?) .
Irving can’t be negotiated, won’t blend or back down because he sees it as a weakness and will set everything he touches on fire. Then he’ll walk away smoking a cigarette while it burns, à la Angela Bassett.
But with there seemingly more contenders than ever and only Milwaukee wearing an early championship scent, every team with champagne dreams should call Marks to see if they can acquire Durant.
And on the subject, Marks must own a lot, even if Irving provides decent coverage. The Nets are awash with 6-foot-3 guards but lack athleticism on the wings and legit size and girth on the rim. Compounding Harden’s disaster was a player trade from Ben Simmons who may very well be broken – having shown none of the flashes of an impact player, no growth and now possibly no health.
So much drama happened in a compressed time, from Harden acting to get to Brooklyn, to acting to get out once he saw Irving wasn’t going to get a shot. Between that was Harden’s injury and Irving’s injury in the 2021 playoffs that left Durant all alone in this series against Milwaukee.
And he looks all alone now, not just a man without a country but a man too good for whoever he’s dating.
The Nets don’t win games, sell tickets or sell hope, so it’s time to end this experience joke. But they won’t, they’ll dig themselves another PR hole with this explanation from Udoka – because unlike Irving, he’ll have to answer uncomfortable questions when it’s official, and even then a huge number of fans to Brooklyn and beyond will feel unseen.
And that’s what Marks gives Durant, as he manages those precious years of Durant’s career.
Durant is now forced to guard crosses, which doesn’t seem like the ideal situation for a man who’s suffered an Achilles injury and an MCL injury for the past four years. In Golden State, those instances looked like situational luxury, a 7-footer with long arms on a defensive juggernaut.
Now it sounds like a necessity for a much older man who now has to look to the remaining years of his prime and how to preserve them.
Durant could very well be equally blessed and cursed. He looks like one who is stable in the face of chaos, but when there is too much stability and minimal drama, he has to create noise.
Right now, it’s time for a boom box and a megaphone before Durant is wasted one more night.
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