Irving's head, Durant's tendon and the reconstruction of the Brooklyn Nets

The Nets get two signings so well-known as full of uncertainty; the most difficult reconstruction will depend on the unpredictable behavior of the base and the recovery of the wing.


Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Brook Lopez. That was the quintet of the Brooklyn Nets in 2013. Five men who were part of a Play Station team and who showed two things: that talent does not last forever and that rushes are not good. The transfer, driven by the Russian tycoon and playboy Mikhail Prokhorov, meant in the long run one of the worst operations in the recent history of the NBA.

Danny Ainge, General Manager of the Celtics, man tanned in a thousand battles and a great connoisseur of sport American, took advantage of Prokhorov's desire and managed to close a transfer so fruitful for Boston as unfortunate for the Nets. On July 12, 2013, the Russian, who was in a hurry, took the bait: Pierce (36 years) left with Kevin Garnett (37), Jason Terry (almost 36) come down and DJ White to Brooklyn in exchange for several players (Gerald Wallace, MarShon Brooks, Kris Humphries, Keith Bogans ...) and (most importantly) three first rounds of the draft (2014, 2016 and 2018) plus the right to exchange the 2017 one if that was the wish of los verdes.

The set from New York, which the previous year had played its first season in Brooklyn after a whole stage in New Jersey, was very far from what could be expected from a template that would have worked very well ... five years before. Age made a dent in a team that fell to the LeBron Heat in the semifinals of the East and had no rudder or regularity at any time of the course.

They were trained by Jason Kidd, a symbol for the Nets and a star that As a player he had led the team to the Finals in 2002 and 2003, he had been part of The Best TEAM in the World, as Slam Magazine described to a squad with players like Kenyon Martin, Kerry Kittles or Keith Van Horn ) y that represented a historical figure for a franchise that started in the ABA and that was never as close to the ring as with the base. The former basketball player did not show the same skills on the benches as on the tracks and ended up being defenestrated after his tumultuous passage through the Bucks.

The following year it was Lionel Hollins who took the team. Back in the playoffs, although this time falling in the first round. That's where those Nets came from. No future and no rounds of the draft until 2019 (except for 2015, on which the Hawks exercised their right to exchange). A catastrophe that would plunge the team in the following seasons. To curl the curl more, Pierce was going to the Wizards in 2014 to give his last throes and Garnett would end up back to the Wolves the following year. The project was, therefore, as unsatisfactory as ephemeral.

Sean Marks, Kenny Atkinson and the new Nets

After the fiasco of the 2015/16 (21-61) Billy King was fired and Sean Marks, who was still playing when Prokhorov started to make his first big moves, he was hired as General Manager. He was the one who got Kenny Atkinson, assistant Mike Budenholzer in the Hawks (today in the Bucks) to join the team. Between the two have managed to get the team out of the well despite the fact that the first two seasons of the coach in the franchise did not end (or by far) with the losing streak: 20-62 in 2016/17 and 28-54 the following year .

That's right, in the time that passed since Marks arrived at the team until last season, the manager cut Bargnani and let go Jarrett Jack, Thomas Robinson, Wayne Ellington, Shane Larkin, Karasev, Willie Reed, Donald Sloan, Henry Sims ... Meanwhile, he signed Jeremy Lin and forced Blazers and Heat and many millions to Crabbe and Johnson. Among the fleet of players of ephemeral duration, Thaddeus Young, who had arrived by Kevin Garnett, went to Indiana in exchange for a pick with which Caris LeVert arrived, chosen at number 20 when for many experts it was second-round meat by its operations in the foot. The basketball player has been in recent seasons one of the sensations of the team and one of the first resounding successes of the Nets.

In the midst of all this, Prokhorov sold 49% of the conglomerate to the co-founder of Alibaba Joseph Tsai. He did it in 2017, the same year in which Marks, in another big operation, got the number 22 of the draft that left Jarrett Allen, another of the big names of the current team. Also around those dates the Lakers released Russell, a base of uncertain future, in an operation carried out to replace him by Lonzo Ball (a 2 of the draft by another) and in which they were made with Brook Lopez (in passing and thinking about Lebron James). The pivot was the last member of that historical quintet of the Nets that represented the hope of New York and of which there is no ms that humo.

2018/19, D'Angelo, and doubts about Kyrie and Durant

After years of nonsense and a slow and gradual reconstruction, the team has seen the light this last campaign. 42-40, best record of the last 5 seasons, and playoffs for the first time in four years. They won the opening game to the Sixers in an exhibition that, although it was a mirage (Philadelphia won in the following four) gave an idea of the team's potential.

The season was worthwhile and showed that the Nets were beginning to see the light . The basketball course ended with the victory of the Raptors and opened the way for negotiations prior to the transfer market ... which began on July 1. Free agency was full of great surprises and Brooklyn was the protagonist of them. Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant arrived in the Big Apple, but they ignored the Knicks, favorites throughout the year to bring both players together, to join the little brother of the city of New York.

It was a historic operation that put an end to it to a franchise that went from being marginalized to being placed again on the map of the best league in the world. But it can go from being a bombshell to being a deceptive movement. To begin with, Russell was abandoning the team's discipline. It was a sign in which the base signed with the Nets and was immediately transferred to the Warriors, who had salary space after the departure of Durant. Eye for an eye. The base, All Star last season, was rewarded and signed a contract of 117 million in four seasons, going from collecting 7 million this last year to 27 that will receive in 2019 / 20.

It is still a risky move. In Brooklyn they let out a future player who would have given them a lot when the project started to take off. And yes, they get Kyrie and Durant ... but we'll have to see at what price. The base, famous for his unpredictable head, already came out badly for the Cavs and has done the same in the Celtics, where his problems with Stevens, Danny Ainge and team members have been public and notorious and have ended up putting the project in the eye of the hurricane.

And Durant? He is 30 years old and has just injured his Achilles tendon. It is an injury that has an average of 10 months of low and that can leave to the eaves KO practically the whole of the next season. If things go well, I could go back to March next year and play a hypothetical playoff. But keep in mind that the tendon is one of the most dangerous injuries of the sport, and that its recovery is an unknown. We already said that in the case of Durant, the important thing was not when, but how. The level that could return after a break that, with 30 years, can mark his career.

Se Nets play, no doubt. They eat the toast to the Knicks and become the benchmark of the Big Apple, but the present and the future of the franchise is an unknown. Right now they go from having a promising project to being a team that is bound to be an aspirant. DeAndre Jordan has also arrived in the market, a great player when he is focused ... but also unpredictable and problematic in the locker room. Atkinson will have work. And it will not be reduced to training. The management of egos can mark the evolution of the team.

A new stage is opened in Brooklyn. After the damn transfer of 2013, the New Yorkers have managed to recover and return to be protagonists. It has two world-class stars, two players who are the present of the League and with whom they will have the option to fight for the ring in the short term if they do things well and do not draw hasty conclusions from a season in which one of His two greatest supporters will be late. From Pierce and Garnett to Irving and Durant. The Nets are again on the map of NBA. The culmination of the reconstruction? We will see. Only time will tell.



Photos from as.com

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