Nets’ harmony equation is straightforward, but it may not be easy

after suffering summer of indignationHow can networking become one happy big family again? Or at least tolerate a marriage of convenience?

It may not be that easy.

Look for the discord, and you are likely to find the application; But it may also contain a photo of the Brooklyn season, an image full of struggles they desperately hope to put behind them once training camp begins later this month.

The cliché says that time heals all wounds. But in sports, winning calms conflict. And accumulating some early season wins may be just what we need to beat the turmoil of the holiday season, including Kyrie Irving Controversial Contract Talks Kevin Durant Try to get a deal – Or fired his coach and GM.

In truth, last season was itself an unbearable roller coaster, right from the start.

Irving’s refusal to commit to New York’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate pulled the first brick from the foundation, and the house looked poised to collapse.

Irving’s absence for two-thirds of the season led to a chain reaction, starting with James Harden demanding a trade and ending with Brooklyn in the first round of the Boston Celtics. That’s when things got really ugly. Irving’s contract talks turned tense. Durant asked. Chaos was thrown into chaos.

Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving’s sweep by the Celtics in the first round of the playoffs was only the beginning of what will be a quiet summer for Brooklyn.
Charles Wenselberg/New York Post

But now the networks will have to learn how to be comfortable in the chaos. The Post published the news On July 12, Irving intended to stay with Brooklyn, and the Nets dropped Durant’s bombshell at Durant on August 23.

After Nets owner Joe Tsai stood firm against Durant’s request to fire both coach Steve Nash and general manager Sean Marks, The star canceled his commercial order He resides in Brooklyn. So far.

Durant (and his business partner Rich Kleiman) met in Los Angeles on August 22 with the two men he tried to turn away, along with Tsai and his wife Clara. I heard the feelings. Laundry has been broadcast. And whether or not hugs are offered — or needed — there is plenty for Brooklyn to work on during the upcoming season.

Talks about Irving’s maximum deal broke down when he refused to get the vaccine, then negotiations on an extension became difficult this summer. Now he is on an expired contract and could be an unrestricted free agent after this season. Durant was satisfied after leaving the LA summit – but how long will that satisfaction last?

Networking Media Day (expected to be September 26th) is a must-see. If last year’s Media Day was exciting, Irving was denied entry to the building and only appeared via Zoom, which would make that look tame by comparison.

The assembled press bodies will get their first opportunity to ask Durant why he wants to box his coach and GM, and test Nash and Marks how they plan to act while managing the player who tried to oust them.

Brooklyn Nets head coach Steve Nash talks with Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) and forward Kevin Durant (7) during the second half of Game 3 of the first round of the NBA Playoffs against the Boston Celtics, Saturday, April 23, 2022, in Brooklyn, New York.
Steve Nash and Durant may have some awkward moments early in training camp after the Nets star called for the coach to be fired over the summer.
Corey Sibkin

This work begins the next day, when the boot camp begins.

If the first step toward reconciliation (probably) came at that time in California, the next step could begin in the camp. While nearly every network has worked its way through HSS training center so far off-season — including Ben Simmons, who was acquired for Harden and has yet to debut, and Irving — Durant has kept his distance. That distance will be closed during camp.

However, the training camp will only be a preamble. Practice, well, as Allen Iverson said, is practice. Real harmony has to be built in real games, with real pressure on their shoulders and real results on the line.

This will require the preservation of Irving, who suffers a lot from injuries. And Durant was a formerly restless, happy man. Simmons in the right headspace.

“I think it would be scary,” Simmons said of playing alongside Durant and Irving. “Having these guys running next to me with multiple different weapons on the ground. And I think as fast as we want to play, it would be unrealistic.”

Despite Simmons’ optimism, no one really knows how the new Big Three will intertwine in Brooklyn until that happens.

Irving and Simmons have a previous relationship playing together under legendary high school coach Kevin Boyle, so they are amicable. From his NBA debut through to 2020-21 — his last healthy season — Simmons finished second in the league with three assists (996). That should go in well with Durant, Irving, Joe Harris, and Seth Curry.

“We lost a franchise player (at Harden), and we got a franchise player back,” Irving said after the season ended. But we didn’t get a chance to see [Simmons] On the floor… Good Ben, we have Ben, and his back. It will be good for next year. But now we are turning the page and looking at what we are building.”

Ben Simmons #25 of the Philadelphia 76ers and Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets hug after a game on January 15, 2020.
Ben Simoncks and Irving share a connection that stretches back to high school.
NBAE via Getty Images

There may not be a situation quite similar to what the Nets are facing, but there are many examples of teams that have won despite disagreement among themselves, their coaches, or both.

For New York fans, the most famous example of this is the 1977 Yankees, when soccer player Reggie Jackson got into a screaming match and a physical altercation with manager Billy Martin at Fenway Park on June 18. Series above the dodgers. The following year was another 100 wins, and another title over Los Angeles.

But there are examples in the NBA as well, albeit not as entertaining.

Boston won the 2008 title behind the Big Three, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett, despite the fact that Allen clearly had problems in the locker room with Rajon Rondo and others.

That year, the Celtics beat the Lakers in six games to win the championship. The previous summer, Kobe Bryant – best known for his tumultuous relationship with Shaquille O’Neal – went on Los Angeles radio to claim a trade. And just as in Durant’s case, the team has retained their talent across generations.

Bryant went on to claim the MVP award that season, and led the Lakers to the next two championships.

Los Angeles Lakers player Kobe Bryant celebrates during a victory parade at the Coliseum in Los Angeles after defeating the Orlando Magic in the NBA Finals Series, on June 17, 2009. The Lakers win the series 4-1
Two years after asking for a deal, Kobe Bryant was celebrating winning his fourth title with the Lakers.
AFP via Getty Images

It is true that these are examples of internal conflict between the stars, while in the case of Brooklyn, it was the star who tried to play hard to dismiss his coach. That’s exactly what happened in Miami in 2010, when the Heat only started 9-8 on LeBron James’ debut season in South Beach.

James wanted to fire coach Eric Spoelstra, and Heat owner Raanan Katz admitted to it. But team boss Pat Riley called James to his office and told the star in no uncertain terms that he wasn’t going to get what he wanted. In the ensuing four years, Spoilstra went to coach James and Heat to four finals — and two titles.

For a Brooklyn team that has already had to avoid a potentially disastrous Durant trade order, avoiding a similarly slow start is critical.

The Nets have twelve dates on the road in their first 20 games, the largest in the Eastern Conference and second in the entire league. Five consecutive players in this stretch are also the second most in the NBA, with the fewest rest days.

Doesn’t bode well for a quick start. But that’s exactly what the Nets need to quell any talk of Durant’s trade order, and assuage any concerns from someone else.