While the playoffs are still happening, the offseason has begun already for a number of NBA teams. One of those teams is the Brooklyn Nets who had another roller-coaster season. Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving were traded mid-season and the Nets were swept in the first round of the playoffs. In a recent interview, Brooklyn’s owner Joe Tsai said that basketball players are “very difficult” to manage.
Tsai has seen the turnover of the Nets’ roster compared to what it looked like two seasons ago. The big 3 of Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving never quite worked out for the Brooklyn Nets. They were inches away from making the Eastern Conference Finals in 2021, but Durant’s foot was narrowly on the line for a three-pointer. Brooklyn went on to lose to the Bucks in OT of Game 7.
The Nets never recovered after that moment and their championship hopes slowly dwindled away over the next two seasons.
Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai says basketball players are ‘very difficult’ to manage: https://t.co/IsMcBVxOm8
— NBACentral (@TheNBACentral) May 11, 2023
A timeline of how the Brooklyn Nets assembled their big 3 and how it fell apart
Joe Tai bought 49 percent of the Brooklyn Nets in 2018 and then became the full-time owner a year later. Before the start of the 2019-20 season, the Nets signed free-agent Kyrie Irving. They also have a sign-and-trade with the Golden State Warriors for superstar Kevin Durant.
Durant was still injured at the time of the trade and he was forced to miss the entire 2019-20 season. Durant returned a year later and the Nets were off and running. At the trade deadline that season, the Nets made a blockbuster deal to acquire James Harden from the Houston Rockets. This trio was one of the best in the league on paper, but they were never able to accomplish much.
In total, the Nets’ big 3 only played 16 total games together. It was a failed experiment that never worked and it’s a big reason why Joe Tsai says that basketball players are “very difficult” to manage.