When the Nets landed Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving back in 2019, they were widely considered the biggest winners of the offseason. Brooklyn had completed a speedy rebuild and appeared to be in a position to compete for multiple championships with Durant and Irving both signed to long-term deals.

Fast forward four years later, and that era of Nets basketball can only be viewed as an abject failure.

Early Thursday morning, multiple reports indicated that the Nets would send Durant to the Suns as part of a blockbuster trade only days after Irving Irving joined the Mavericks. Those moves nearly happened on the one-year anniversary of the James Harden trade, which was finalized in February 2022.

MORE: Breaking down winners and losers of the 2023 NBA trade deadline

Durant, Irving and Harden played a grand total of 16 games together — regular season and postseason games combined. They leave Brooklyn behind after winning one playoff series.

As ESPN’s Zach Lowe often said, these Nets were the “greatest theoretical team” of all time. How did they go from contender to catastrophe?


Nets timeline of disaster: How Brooklyn’s ‘Big Three’ experiment fell apart

July 2019: The Nets sign Kyrie Irving and acquire Durant via a sign-and-trade deal with the Warriors.

March 2020: The Nets fire head coach Kenny Atkinson and replace him with interim coach Jacque Vaughn. Atkinson had Brooklyn in a position to reach the playoffs despite Durant missing the entirety of the 2019-20 season.

September 2020: Steve Nash becomes the Nets' head coach. Irving causes a stir when he says that he doesn’t “really see [the Nets] as having a head coach.”

December 2020: Durant makes his Nets debut, scoring 22 points in a win against the Warriors.

January 2021: Harden forms a “Big Three” with Durant and Irving after being sent to Brooklyn as part of a four-team trade. The Nets give up Jarrett Allen, Caris LeVert, Rodions Kurucs, Taurean Prince, three first-round picks and four pick swaps in order to acquire Harden.

June 2021: With Irving and Harden both limited by injuries, the Nets fall to the Bucks in a hotly contested Eastern Conference Semifinals series. Milwaukee goes on to win the 2021 NBA championship.

August 2021: Durant signs a four-year extension with the Nets. Harden and Irving don’t agree to new deals with Brooklyn before the 2021-22 season.

October 2021: The Nets announce that Irving will not be a part of the team because of his vaccination status.

December 2021: The Nets change their decision, announcing that Irving will return as a part-time player.

February 2022: In a blockbuster deadline deal, the Nets ship Harden and Paul Millsap to the 76ers in exchange for Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond and two first-round picks.

April 2022: The Celtics sweep the Nets in the first round of the playoffs. Boston advances all the way to the 2022 NBA Finals, falling to Golden State in six games.

June 2022: Irving accepts his 2022-23 player option after a trade doesn’t materialize, and Durant informs the Nets that he wants to be traded.

MORE: 2023 NBA trade deadline tracker: Every player, pick moved

August 2022: Durant and the Nets announce that they have “agreed to move forward with our partnership.”

October 2022: Irving tweets a link to a film featuring antisemitic messaging. The Nets suspend Irving for failing to “unequivocally say he has no antisemitic beliefs, nor acknowledge specific hateful material in the film.” Irving later apologizes for his tweet.

November 2022: The Nets fire Nash after a 2-5 start to the season. Vaughn takes over as the interim head coach before earning the permanent title.

February 2023: Only days after Irving’s trade request, both Irving and Durant are on the move. The Nets trade Irving and Durant to the Mavericks and Suns, respectively.

Source: https://www.sportingnews.com/us/nba/news/nets-kevin-durant-kyrie-irving-james-harden-timeline/kqavnoxkabe40pjgfh782etk