The Brooklyn Nets' championship window may have slammed shut.
When Kyrie Irving told Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium on Monday that he intended to pick up his player option, many thought that was a reprieve for Brooklyn when it came to the team's top two stars.
Naturally, the news set social media ablaze, with Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant and Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid among those reacting:
Wojnarowski reported June 22 that teams around the NBA were monitoring Irving's situation in the belief his departure could make Durant available. That led to plenty of discourse about where KD might play next.
Now that he has formally requested a trade, let the hypothetical dealing commence:
Nathan Chester @NathanChester24
Memphis' baseline offer would need to be something like this:<br>-Desmond Bane<br>-Dillon Brooks<br>-Ziaire Williams<br>-Steven Adams<br>-2023 1st<br>-2024 1st<br>-2024 1st (from GS)<br>-2025 1st<br><br>And I'd do this. KD is probably the best player in the world when he's at the top of his craft.
Mason Ginsberg @MasonGinsberg
Worth mentioning that the Pelicans can do a lot that other teams can't from a draft pick perspective in any potential Durant offer given the # of years they have multiple 1sts - the Stepien rule wouldn't be as limiting for them <a href="https://t.co/ZmpCiKiupm">https://t.co/ZmpCiKiupm</a>
Gordon Gross @GMoneyNuggs
I still wanna see Durant go back to OKC. It would just be amazing to me. He could literally rewrite his legacy on the fly, going almost the same route that LeBron did to bring a title to the team that drafted him (well, the zombie Sonics) after rings elsewhere. Not happening tho
The plot will thicken when it comes to Irving.
Brooklyn's first-round draft capital for the foreseeable future is in the Houston Rockets' hands, so general manager Sean Marks can't tear it all down and build anew. Keeping Irving would help the Nets remain competitive, but it seems unlikely he or the team will want to move forward together if Durant is gone.
This is shaping up to be a disaster for the organization. The front office parted ways with head coach Kenny Atkinson in 2020 and steadily dismantled a promising young core in order to build around Durant and Irving.
Brooklyn did all that and might only have one conference semifinals run and two first-round exits to show for its trouble.
The Nets leaned all the way into player empowerment when they signed Durant and Irving. The epic failure of their plan will serve as a cautionary tale.