Seventy-four video games. 

It doesn’t appear actual. It doesn’t appear potential. All of the clamor, all of the noise, all of the drama, all of the New-York-is-OUR-town-now rhetoric … and the Nets wound up with 74 video games value of the Kevin Durant/Kyrie Irving partnership. Seventy-four video games. 

It’s sort of like studying that the unique run of “The Honeymooners” lasted for less than 39 episodes. After all, “The Honeymooners” offered numerous hours of happiness and laughter throughout these 39 episodes, these 19 ½ hours of good TV. Ralph and Norton introduced nothing however honor and good humor to the borough of Brooklyn. 

KD & KY? 

Nothing however ailing feeling. Nothing however rancor. Nothing however an abundance of hope and a shortage of truly memorable basketball. Seventy-four video games. Seven postseason wins. One playoff-series victories. And acres and acres of off-court slapstick that has in some way made the clown-shoes the Nets have worn with uncommon exception for the reason that day they have been based in 1967 appear even redder, even larger, and even floppier than earlier than. 

It’s nearly arduous to be this inept. 

However, then that’s the Nets. Irving goes now, and along with the hilarity of getting a few draft picks — the prize of which received’t be loved till two presidential election cycles from now — there’s the poignancy of the return of Spencer Dinwiddie. 

Kevin Durant, left, and Kyrie Irving performed simply 74 video games along with the Nets.
Getty Pictures

As soon as upon a time, not so way back, Dinwiddie was one of many core Nets round whom GM Sean Marks’ unique blueprints have been featured — likeable, hard-working and younger skills, coached by Kenny Atkinson, who gave the 76ers fairly a scare within the 2019 playoffs and appeared to supply real hope that Marks would wind up delivering what he’d promised: a full and full rebuild specializing in character and infrastructure. 

For some time, the Nets have been actually a feel-good story. 

However then a most wonderful factor fell into Marks’ lap. Kevin Durant wished to come back to Brooklyn. And although Durant was recovering from a blown-out Achilles he was — and is — the sort of participant who makes you blow up superbly constructed blueprints. He would come to Brooklyn and never Manhattan. Who would say no to that? 

Nicely … Marks most likely would, given the reward of hindsight. As a result of getting Durant additionally meant signing Irving, a quintessential Faustian discount that even in actual time felt ominous. Later, the 2 of them would assume bonus titles as Marks’ volunteer deputies and a ceaseless sequence of stupidities adopted. 

In Durant’s case, that was simple to miss as a result of each time his well being allowed him to play he was and has been a pleasure to look at. He is without doubt one of the handful of best gamers on the planet. He almost single-handedly delivered the Nets to the convention finals two years in the past. 

However his wingman, Kyrie — that was one other difficulty. 

Kyrie Irving
The Nets traded Kyrie Irving to the Mavericks on Sunday.

Now that untrue sidekick has fled the foxhole, has been shipped off to Dallas, and this 74-game experiment will perpetually be referred to as a certainly one of basketball’s all-time cautionary tales. And now the Nets have to ask some arduous questions, and all these solutions will reveal is what the franchise’s subsequent 5-10 years are going to appear like. 

The Nets have to know, as soon as and for all, the place Durant’s coronary heart is. Is he in it for the long run? Keep in mind, Durant additionally demanded a commerce final summer time although he needed to again off when it was obvious the Nets (properly) weren’t going to accede to that for 60 cents on the greenback — particularly as a result of there was a run-it-back sense of taking one closing (ill-conceived) likelihood with their two stars. Each of whom, it ought to be famous, have been terrific this 12 months; they have been each named starters within the All-Star Sport. 

And so they performed properly as a staff for a stretch, profitable 18 out of 20 simply earlier than Durant harm his knee. 

Kyrie Irving, left, and Kevin Durant
Kyrie Irving, left, and Kevin Durant’s Nets partnership is over.

However that, as with a lot of the Durant/Irving partnership, was mere mirage. 

So now the Nets have to ask the arduous query of their franchise centerpiece: Does he need to preserve centerpiecing? Does he belief Marks can rebuild an elite staff on the fly? Will he discover life with out Kyrie liberating or insupportable? Something apart from an entire dedication, Marks must see what’s on the market now, as a result of the subsequent 4 days might properly be one of many exceptional auctions of all time amongst NBA contenders if Durant is really in play. 

The Nets lastly dealt Irving to attempt to restore a modicum of franchise dignity and sanity. Durant holds the secrets and techniques to what their subsequent transfer might be. All of this for 74 video games. What a disgrace. What a waste.