There’s no way for the Brooklyn Nets to sugarcoat it. Losing two different Big 3 cores over the last two seasons is an utter disaster.
Swapping out James Harden for Ben Simmons didn’t do much of anything and now the Nets have jettisoned Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in a matter of days.
Durant was traded in a stunning midnight blockbuster to the Phoenix Suns, where he’ll look to do for Devin Booker and company what he did for Steph Curry and the Warriors so many years ago.
But the future is a lot brighter than it may seem in the aftermath of blowing everything up. Simmons is still potentially one of the best players in the league when he’s healthy and Brooklyn landed two key young players from the Suns to now build around.
One thing that Phoenix had going for it was the franchise’s ability to identify and home grow talent — not unlike the Golden State Warriors. Outside of a few guys, almost every core member of the Suns team that went to the NBA Finals last year were drafted and developed, and that includes Bridges and Johnson.
Brooklyn has tried piecing together a core through free agency more than once and it’s failed every single time. Now the franchise is resetting things and trying to do it “The Right Way” and build a sustainable future through young talent that will grow together rather than trying to Frankenstein a team of stars.
Whether it works is yet to be seen, but at this point what’s the worst that can happen?
Brooklyn Nets updated roster after Kevin Durant trade
As you’d imagine, things are going to look a lot different in Brooklyn moving forward. Here’s a glance at what the Brooklyn Nets updated roster looks like after not only trading Kevin Durant but also Kyrie Irving over the last week:
- PG: Spencer Dinwiddie
- SG: Royce O’Neale
- SF: Cam Johnson
- PF: Mikal Bridges
- C: Nic Claxton
Ben Simmons figures to work into the rotation as a Sixth Man, or can slide into the starting lineup at point guard or power forward, but it’s pretty notable that the third piece of the Nets Big 3 is on the outside of the starting lineup bubble.
Of course, Simmons has been battling through a number of different things over the years and when fully healthy is a key piece of the core. Even in his current state Simmons is someone the Nets should consider a big piece of the future, but fans have more to look forward to than what it otherwise seems like.
Brooklyn Nets updated roster: Depth chart for the rest of 2023
It’s not just the starting lineup that look different, as the Nets added some depth in trading away Kyrie and Durant. Some of the bench depth could rotate its way into the starting lineup, but it also goes to show how Brooklyn is set up to land on its feet after blowing up its core:
- PG: Spencer Dinwiddie, Ben Simmons, Seth Curry
- SG: Royce O’Neale, Cam Thomas, Joe Harris, Patty Mills
- SF: Cameron Johnson, Dorian Finney-Smith, Yuta Watanabe
- PF: Mikal Bridges, Ben Simmons, Dorian Finney-Smith,
- C: Nic Claxton, Day-Ron Sharpe, Ben Simmons
Jae Crowder was also acquired from the Suns but will either be bought out or flipped before the deadline. That could add yet another piece to the Nets depth chart, which already looks like it’ll be ripe for experimentation as Brooklyn closes out the season with an eye on the future like never before.