I wrote the header for this article late summer of 2018. It was before their electric season after the recent addition of D’Angelo Russell and their team chemistry had not already been developed nearly as much as it was by the end of last season.
They were considered an early write off, not too bold of a prediction for any sports writer or analyst given their roster at the time. I wrote the title to this article over a year ago after more reports were being printed shaming the Brooklyn Nets for their involvement in the KG/Paul Pierce/ Jason Terry trade for a stash of unprotected draft picks a few years earlier.
The Nets mysteriously had two potential maximum signing options they could open in the summer of 2019 – should they have wanted to. This was primarily unknown to the majority of NBA fans, as at the time, playing alongside players like D’Angelo Russell wasn’t valued as much as it is in today’s modern NBA.
Brooklyn – although located in a beautiful area of the east coast, was still quite unattractive as a free agent destination. However, as the season progressed and the team chemistry between the Brooklyn Nets began to take social media by storm with their incredibly supportive bench attics and celebrations, Brooklyn suddenly became more appealing – stemming from the atmosphere that the players themselves created.
Kyrie Irving – the first marquee free agent to notice the Brooklyn atmosphere created by leader D’Angelo Russell and followed them throughout the season. Kyrie Irving would consequently be the first big free agent to sign with the Brooklyn Nets – 4 years/140 million during the summer of 2019.
I love the Brooklyn Nets because they embody how an average team can elevate solely on chemistry and player bonding. Jared Dudley and Theo Pinson, two average NBA players suddenly became invaluable to the Brooklyn Nets. Jared Dudley would later be brought in by the Lakers to be a mentor for the young players, while also playing the backup forward position. The Nets quickly retained second year player and former UNC Tarheel Theo Pinson – as they try to keep a solid core of returning Nets players for the 2019/2020 season.
Then began the Kevin Durant sweepstakes. Coming off a recent ACL injury in the NBA Finals – it was still Kevin Durant. Every team was willing to maximize their salary caps for KD, but the Brooklyn Nets didn’t have to. They had their second and final maximum free agent slot available and with the addition of Kyrie a few days earlier, the deal was closed rather quickly – leaving New York Knicks fans quite upset that Kevin Durant would be playing in New York, just not for their team.
Kyrie and KD took salary cuts for the strong addition of DeAndre Jordan. The Nets quickly won free agency and although they will be without KD for the first year, look to make the second round of the playoffs this season – as I think they will be based off of their electric atmosphere and incredibly squad/team chemistry.