Brooklyn Nets: Here is not a place Nets fans have been before

Brooklyn Nets Billy Paultz. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 1971 NBAE (Photo by Paul Bereswill/NBAE via Getty Images)
Brooklyn Nets Billy Paultz. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 1971 NBAE (Photo by Paul Bereswill/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Brooklyn Nets
Brooklyn Nets Anthony Morrow Johan Petro Travis Outlaw Jordan Farmar. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2010 NBAE (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Jersey daze and Brooklyn nights

Many of the deals the early NBA Nets made, both as the New York Nets and New Jersey Nets, didn’t always turn out as planned.

The Nets traded ABA All-Star Brian Taylor along with 1977 and 1978 first-round picks to the Kansas City Kings in September 1976 to get Tiny Archibald, a legitimate superstar point guard.

But without Erving around, Archibald was the whole show. That was, until he tore up a knee and was limited to only 34 games. He was traded to Buffalo the next offseason.

Those picks the Nets gave up? No. 2 overall in each year, which the Kings used to draft the backcourt of Otis Birdsong and Phil Ford that turned them from bottom feeders to Western Conference playoff mainstay for about four years.

It was a big deal when the Nets coaxed Larry Brown away from UCLA (little did we know at the time he had done enough wrong at UCLA to land the nation’s most vaunted program on probation) in March 1981.

Brown took over the following fall and immediately led New Jersey to its first winning season and second playoff berth.

In 1982-83, the Nets were on pace for 50 wins, were competitive with the powerhouse Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks and 76ers in the Eastern Conference and then … with six games left in the season ….

… Brown jumped ship to go to the University of Kansas (which he also landed on probation after he had already jumped back to the NBA). The Nets finished the regular season 2-4 and were swept out of the playoffs in the first round by — of all teams — the Knicks.

Yes, Next Town Larry Brown had bitten the Nets squarely on the tuchus.

Some moves worked. The trade for Jason Kidd in 2001 was brilliant, and brought the Nets to their most NBA success in the form of back-to-back trips to the NBA Finals.

More recently, trading for D’Angelo Russell worked out very well.

But there was the ill-fated trade for Gerald Wallace in 2012 that sent out the first-round pick used by the Portland Trail Blazers to select Damian Lillard. (Whoops.)

Trading for the immortal Dan Gadzuric in 2010 gave the Golden State Warriors a second-round pick they turned into Draymond Green. (Whoops.)

There were the signings of Travis Outlaw and the gang in 2010. Outlaw wound up an amnesty clause casualty two years later, while Anthony Morrow, Johan Petro and Jordan Farmar were all salary filler in the 2012 Joe Johnson trade.

But at least the Nets threw in a first-round pick, too, so there’s that.

That all set the stage for the mother of all bad trades. Somewhere in the minds of general manager Billy King and the rest of the Nets’ brain trust, the idea that acquiring Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry … in 2013 … would equal a championship contender.

And it absolutely would have … had the trade been consummated in say 2006 or 2007.

That one only cost three first-round picks outright and a swap from No. 1 to No. 27 in 2017. And for that Brooklyn got less than a season of Terry, one whole season from Pierce and less than two campaigns from Garnett before they were traded (Terry and Garnett) or left as a free agent (Pierce).

With all of that as a backdrop, you can understand the dazed and amazed sensations being felt by Brooklyn Nets fans in the wake of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving making their decisions.

To play for the Brooklyn Nets.

By choice!

Next. 10 best Nets from 1996-2006. dark

This wasn’t the biggest day for the fan base since anything. It was simply the biggest day. Period.