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Optimism is swirling in Brooklyn with Kevin Durant's trade request in the rearview, Kyrie Irving reaffirming his commitment to the franchise and Steve Nash patching his rocky relationship with the star duo. Perhaps you've followed the team since the move to Brooklyn in 2012? Maybe you go back to the early 1980's at Brendan Byrne Arena? Dare I say its inaugural year in 1967 at the Teaneck Armory? Whatever the case may be, Nets fans young and old, near and far, share these three fears this upcoming season. 

Durant will bolt when things get tough

 If the Nets start slow the griping and disenchantment with the franchise from its superstar player will rear its ugly head once again. Brooklyn faces a bevy of top playoff caliber opponents over its first 20 games and if things get off to a clunky started, the supposedly repaired rift between Steve Nash and Durant will see the light of day again. Durant will once again give Joe Tsai an ultimatum: "fire the coach or trade me."

  Kyrie will march to the beat of his own drum


 There always seems to be some kind of excuse for why Irving isn't on the court: nagging injuries, vaccine compliance issues, personal reasons or simply going AWOL without informing the team. It's a tired act for those around him and who root for him, and despite the Nets'point guard insisting he's aiming to play MVP caliber ball, most will only believe it when they see him play game in and game out. 

  Steve Nash's nonsensical coaching decisions 

 Whether it's refusing to play LaMarcus Alridge and largely benching Blake Griffin in the Nets'sweep at the hands of Boston, Nash doesn't have his players' or the fans' trust. Nash will be entering the third year at the helm in Brooklyn and while he's been dealt a chaotic hand with a rotating carousel of players due to trade requests, injuries and ineligibility, he has done little to instill any confidence in his handling of the roster.

 As the Nets embark on a quest for a title, these three ongoing fears and possible scenarios could very well derail a potential championship parade for the Nets and their fans.

 Kevin Durant is undoubtedly an all-time NBA great. So how could arguably the league's best player be ranked outside the top five players in the league?

That's the question that many were asking themselves when ESPN ranked the top 10 players in the NBA. 



 

Citing the two months he missed last season and the trade request he ultimately rescinded this off season as the main culprits for Durant plummeting down the list, even the most unreasonable Durant haters can't defend this ranking.

Yes, he's turning 34 and there has absolutely been turmoil in Brooklyn this summer, but his peak talents are undeniable.

With Ben Simmons now in the fold to distribute and create easy scoring opportunities both in the half court and transition for Durant, his scoring prowess will be on full display.

You can be sure that Durant will be keeping receipts on those who have doubted him and knocked him off the top 5 list.

Preseason play is two weeks away, but until the regular season gets underway, Durant win just need to let this criticism fuel him for the upcoming campaign.


The writing is on the wall that both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving might be playing elsewhere following the upcoming NBA season. Both players have flirted with the notion of calling other NBA cities home, while causing angst within the Nets' fan base along the way. Between Irving's long-term contract standoff, Durant's direct trade request to owner Joe Tsai and all of the noise and hoopla that come along with the two superstars, the act is growing tired.

 Management is fed up with the duo's antics and the two basketball savants don't want to relinquish any previously held control over the composition of the roster and staff. Brooklyn doesn't have a single divisional banner, 50-win season, conference title or NBA title to boast in the three years since both landed in the borough in 2019. 

 More wars have been won on Twitter than on the basketball court and what was supposed to amount to a dynamic team where both players cemented their legacy, has turned into a sideshow and utter disappointment for fans. 

 Starved for a title since the team's inception in 1967, the last two years should have seen the team knocking down that door with one of the most talented rosters ever assembled. Instead, a combination of injuries, non-compliance issues, infighting and all around drama has derailed the Brooklyn Express. 

 On the dawn of a new season, the Nets are still tinkering with this failed experiment to see if it can still yield the results many anticipated when the era first started. 

 While the Nets collective brain trust tries to assemble for possibly one last hooray, this is a stark reminder that this team is not the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls led by Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. 

 This Brooklyn Nets team may go down in history for all the wrong reasons and it may be time for the organization to cut its losses if another June goes by without the bright lights blaring over center court on at Barclays Center
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The Nets will be celebrating 10 years since moving from New Jersey to Brooklyn this upcoming season, yet if the franchise's nomadic history tells us anything, it's that a permanent stay in the borough isn't necessarily all but guaranteed. With owner Joe Tsai accruing losses topping $100 million the last two seasons, the current business model has proven unsustainable. The Nets first failed Big 3 experiment came under a hasty owner in Mikhail Prokhorov mortgaging the future to obtain aging superstars. Flash forward to 2019 and two prime superstars dropped into Tsai and Sean Marks' laps during free agency and a third star required a haul of picks to assemble another doomed super team. With the possibility that both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving could be gone at the end of the upcoming season, how can Barclays Center remain a big draw? The venue already lost heaps of money on overpriced and underachieving players who could not stay healthy or eligible to play. Since their founding in 1967, the Nets have called eight different arenas home and if this era basketball goes up in flames, who's to say another move isn't in the offing? The franchise was already struggling to build a loyal season ticket base and with non-committal players as the faces of the franchise, fans aren't exactly lining up at the ticket office to part with their hard earned money. Anything short of an NBA Finals run in this the fourth year with Irving and Durant on the roster together, (Durant missed the 2019 season rehabbing from Achilles surgery), will put Tsai even further into the red and open up the possibility of yet another franchise move. Whether that means a return to Long Island at the brand new UBS Arena, a return to New Jersey at either the Prudential Center or Izod Center, is anyone's guess. Only this much is clear, through poor marketing efforts and even more underwhelming play in Brooklyn, Irving and Durant have the weight on the franchise resting squarely on their shoulders.

 Author Rick Laughland joined host Danielle McCartan on WFAN New York's overnight program to discuss the launch of his new book: A History of the Nets-From Teaneck to Brooklyn.

Nets History book author Rick Laughland on WFAN

Laughland talked about his inspiration for writing the book, the nomadic wanderings of the franchise and the improbable journey that brought the franchise to Brooklyn.


Laughland lists his top players on the Nets Mount Rushmore and whether there's a chance the Nets could find another home outside of Brooklyn at some point in the future.




 Kyrie Irving will need to show up and show out with the Brooklyn Nets this year if he's hoping to net the long-term contract he feels he deserves. 

Sean Marks and Joe Tsai were reluctant to dole out a mega deal for the talented superstar without assurances that he would be available and willing to play in the vast majority of games this year.

The contract standoff dominated the off-season chatter with Irving unexpectedly opting-in to his deal to stay with the Nets for at least the 2022-23 season.

All signs indicate that Irving is raring and ready to prove he naysayers wrong and let his play do the talking. Unfortunately for the superbly talented shooting guard, injuries, vaccine compliance issues and missing games for personal reasons have tarnished his reputation as one of the league's greats.

At age 30, Irving is approaching the prime years of his career and a crossroads where he'll either need to ball out or bail out with the Nets still setting their sights on an NBA title.

A disgruntled Kevin Durant has officially rescinded his trade request, but things can quickly go South for him and Irving if they don't start the season on a winning track. Durant's incessant tweeting and debating with fans makes for some entertaining drama, but if the Nets are a dysfunctional mess like they were a season ago, even the most staunch Durant and Irving supporters will start to turn on the dynamic duo.

Look for Irving to play inspired ball , but it still remains to be seen whether the commitment he's made to the team this off-season will stand the test of time and be sustained throughout the upcoming season. Durant is content enough now, but holding together a locker room with supersized, yet fragile egos will be a daunting task for Steve Nash and company.


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