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Showing posts with label Dallas Mavericks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dallas Mavericks. Show all posts

Nightmare NBA finals matchup will rock Nets' World

 


The Brooklyn Nets don't have a dog in the fight. 

They snapped a playoff streak of four consecutive seasons this year. 

That doesn't mean that Nets fans don't have a rooting interest. 

It looks like Brooklyn fans will have to root for the lesser of two evils.

If things continue down this path in the Conference Finals, the nightmare matchup of Kyrie Irving and the Dallas Mavericks against the Boston Celtics will be a reality. 

You couldn't cherry pick two teams that Nets fans would want to see in the finals less. Perhaps Kevin Durant with the Phoenix Suns or James Harden with the Los Angeles Clippers would be the only exceptions. 

So the question becomes if a Boston- Dallas final is in the offing, who should Nets fans root for.

Irving recruited superstar talent to Brooklyn, only to burn down the house a few seasons later. The Celtics used the unprotected picks the Nets sent them in the Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry trade to draft Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. 

The Celtics will always be a rival of the Nets. The two teams met in the 2021 playoffs with the Nets big three of Irving, Durant and Harden disposing of the Celtics in five games. 

Boston flipped the script in the 2022 playoffs, sweeping the Nets and thereby precipitating Durant's trade request. 

While Irving is among the most unlikable players to ever put on a Nets uniform, the presence of former New Jersey Net great Jason Kidd on the coaching staff and the historic rivalry with Boston, makes the Mavericks the lesser of two evils for Nets fans. 

Former Net legend's playoff run with Mavs impossible to support

 



Jason Kidd is synonymous with greatness. He is among the top 75 players to ever touch an NBA basketball. He is in the pantheon of great NBA players and arguably the top Nets player of all time. 

So why would it be so difficult for a Nets fan base to root for the Mavericks head coach and his pursuit of a title?

It has nothing to do with Kidd's unceremonious ending in 2008 as a player in New Jersey or as a head coach with Brooklyn in 2014. 

In fact, Kidd's contributions to the franchise will always be remembered more for the good times than the challenging ones.

The reason why it's impossible for the Nets faithful to pull for the former face of the franchise is that he hitched his wagon to Kyrie Irving. 

Irving made big promises upon signing with Brooklyn, including finishing the job that Kidd had started in New Jersey, by winning a championship. 

Brooklyn fell laughably short with Irving missing the playoffs during the bubble year with an injured shoulder that required surgery. Irving then suffered a leg injury in the 2021 playoffs, followed by being swept by his former team in the Celtics in 2022. 

Irving could not stay healthy and was far from a leader during his time in Brooklyn. He was in fact one of the main culprits for why the team's big three blew up from the inside out. 

There's no question that Irving was among the most talented players to ever wear a Nets uniform, but he will never be a beloved player in this borough after he single-handedly dismantled a super team.

So while Kidd winning his second championship with the Mavericks and first as a head coach would be a storybook tale, Irving's presence on the roster makes Nets fans cringe at the thought of him enjoying success with another franchise. Especially after he burned this one to the ground. 

Kyrie Irving for Jalen Brunson the perfect trade for Nets in '22



The writing was on the wall for Kyrie Irving heading up to the 2022 trade deadline. The Brooklyn Nets had grown tired of his act and there was a strained relationship between Irving, the front office and ownership. 

Meanwhile, in Dallas, a potential Jalen Brunson extension fell through the cracks and it became imminent that the Maverick point guard was going to hit free agency in the summer. 

As the Nets had an untenable situation with Irving and Mark Cuban dealing with a strong likelihood of losing his starting point guard, swapping Irving for Brunson would have made the most sense for both teams at the 2022 deadline deal 

Brunson has evolved into a superstar player with the Knicks, but pairing him with Kevin Durant would have formed a terrific Duo in Brooklyn. 

Ironically, the Nets would trade Irving to Dallas and pair him with Luka Doncic in 2023 In exchange for Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith and picks. 

Had Sean Marks pulled the plug on Irving earlier on a reported deal that was on the table, perhaps the Nets fortunes are much different than their current situation. 

Durant seems to be a malcontent no matter where he goes, so there's no guarantee that bringing Brunson in the fold would have prevented his ultimate trade request. 

At the end of the day, it's fun playing revisionist history, but there was a realistic scenario where the Nets could have made Brunson their point guard of the future, unloaded a disgruntled player, and kept Durant in the fold for the foreseeable future. 

Even if the Durant still requested a trade, pairing Brunson with Mikal Bridges would put Brooklyn in a much better position as well. 

As Brunson leads the Knicks on a playoff push, all Nets fans can do is play the what if game. Irving and Brunson are inching towards a conference final berth, while the Nets are pseudo-rebuild is already underway.