The Nets were set up for historic greatness this summer when General Manager Sean Marks put the finishing touches on a roster as talented as any ever assembled. Led by the Big 3 of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden, Brooklyn on paper appeared to be capable of beating any team in any style. They could play big or small. They could play fast or at a grind-it-out pace. They even snuck in a few defensive-oriented players onto the team for special occasions.
Those are some bold predictions. I'm going to counter.
1. I predict Irving never plays for Nets ever again.
Sean Marks has always preached Culture as his philosophy. Irving is not the type of player that Marks has ever wanted in Brooklyn. Whether Kyrie has good intentions or not; the culture Irving brings tends to be toxic. Like DeAndre Jordan, I believe Irving was brought to Brooklyn as a requirement needed to bring Durant; I'm not so sure Marks would have wanted to sign Kyrie if he didn't have to.
With that; it's also clear that Durant no longer is making it a requirement to having Irving stick around. And if Durant and Harden are ok with Irving going, I think Marks is more than fine with that.
Besides the toxicity and complications that Irving brings; it is Irving's salary that needs to go. The Nets are hard capped. This summer alone, the Nets had to say goodbye to Jeff Green and give away 4 2nd round picks just to move Jordan's salary.
Next season, the Nets will likely lose Claxton and Bruce Brown due to cap issues. Even if Marks gets zero assets moving Irving, having his contract off the books will allow the Nets to resign their own guys and bring in another quality FA.
If any trade is out there, I expect to see Irving traded in the next few months. Else, he may even get bought out.
For those that think Irving is too talented to say goodbye to, the Nets are lucky enough that they don't need that talent. They have two of the greatest scorers in history on this roster. While Irving's scoring is a nice bonus; it's not needed. Moreover, you can have more defense and more touches for Durant and Harden with Mills/Brown out there.
In the end; if Kyrie is traded or bought out, Marks may have successfully turned this situation into a positive. Regardless of the Vaccine Mandate, Irving's behavior long term is something that the Nets are better off saying goodbye to and this may be the excuse to say goodbye with Durant's blessing.
2. When KD didn't have Harden or Irving things did not look good. But your PG were borderline G-Leaguers. I think Patty Mills changes the equation as does Aldridge as a guy you dump the ball too. I predict when Harden is out Aldridge and Mills are always in. Also predict Claxton always on the floor with Harden.
3. Luka wins the MVP and deserves it. Durant and Harden sharing the ball simply hurts their chances of having amazing seasons. Luka on the other hand will likely have a historic season with no other star.
4. No way Nets spend more money this season unless Kyrie is traded or agrees to a buyout. I do see a few minimum buyout candidates agreeing to the Nets like Griffin and Aldridge. I'm guessing Ricky Rubio or John Wall.
5. Nets win title and Nash resigns.