With several key players set to hit free agency, the Brooklyn Nets will have their work cut out for them this offseason to build around their superstar trio.
While it’s clear Brooklyn’s biggest needs are a backup point guard who can create shots for himself and others, and a rim-protecting center, the front office should also prioritize building a deeper bench, which was ravaged after they acquired James Harden from the Rockets.
In any event, even though injuries played a major role in their downfall, this season can only be described as a major disappointment for the Nets.
With a core of Kevin Durant, Harden and Kyrie Irving, anything less than a championship will qualify as a letdown.
Getting eliminated by the Bucks in the second round means one campaign has already gone to waste. That seems harsh, but it’s the truth.
After all, the Big 3 is no guarantee to stay with the Nets after 2022, and Durant had some speculative comments about what’ll convince the trio to sign extensions.
Did Kevin Durant foreshadow anything with his comments about the Nets’ Big 3?
If you expected Durant, who’s currently finding it more difficult than we expected to lead Team USA to a gold medal at the Olympics, to confirm that he, Harden, and Irving are all planning to sign extensions with the Nets after next season, that was never going to happen.
However, the fact Durant left the door open will spark concerns among fans, and rightfully so given the Big 3 is in the perfect situation to chase titles. Unless another opportunity arises, what reason would Durant, Harden and Irving have to not sign extensions?
What if injuries derail their season for a second year in a row? After all, they were the only thing that stopped Brooklyn from cutting down the nets this year.
After all, Durant took the world champion Bucks to seven games with Harden playing through a Grade 2 hamstring strain and without Irving (ankle) for the final three contests. If one of Harden or Irving was fully healthy — or if Durant was wearing a smaller shoe — the Nets probably win that series, breeze by the Hawks in the next round and dispose of the Suns to win the title.
Surely, the Nets’ Big 3 is aware of this, right? Assuming that’s the case, we would advise against hitting the panic button for the time being. While Durant is clearly enjoying his time in Brooklyn, it would’ve been foolish of him to commit to a new deal before seeing how next season unfolds.
Whether it be injuries or poor performance, if Harden and Irving leave Durant hanging in the playoffs again and force him to put the weight of the franchise on his back, then Nets fans have our permission to panic about what lies ahead for Brooklyn after 2022.
Until then, all we can do is speculate.