Nets' Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving era: Timeline of events
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Here’s a look at how things went south for the Nets after Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving signed with them three years ago:

 June 30, 2019: The two stars commit to the Nets in free agency (along with center — and friend of theirs — DeAndre Jordan), infusing Brooklyn with the hope of championship contention.

Feb. 20, 2020: With Durant already out for the entire season thanks to his Achilles surgery rehab, Irving opts for season-ending shoulder surgery. He only plays 20 games the whole season.

 March 7, 2020: The Nets stunningly fire coach Kenny Atkinson, with Irving among those who contributed to the decision. Jacque Vaughn replaces Atkinson on an interim basis, but after the season, the Nets hire Steve Nash to coach a championship-or-bust team, despite Nash having never coached before in his life.

Jan. 13, 2021: In a deal that costs the Nets a fortune — not only Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen but also three first-round draft picks and four draft-pick swaps — Brooklyn acquires James Harden from Houston to form a Big 3 with Durant and Irving. Harden largely plays well, but he hurts his hamstring in the playoffs versus the Bucks, shows up out of shape for training camp at the start of the next season, declines to sign an extension and eventually forces a trade out of Brooklyn.

Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant high-five during the first half of a game at the Amway Center.
Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant
Marty Jean-Louis/Sipa USA

June 19, 2021: After taking a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Bucks, the Nets fail to win another playoff game during the Durant/Irving/Harden era. With Irving out with a sprained ankle and Harden hampered by a hamstring injury, they lose Game 6 in Milwaukee, then fall in a crushing Game 7 overtime defeat at Barclays Center.

Training camp, 2021: Irving declines to get vaccinated against COVID-19, making him ineligible to play in any games in New York City during the upcoming season. GM Sean Marks then declares Irving will be away from the team because the organization is “not looking for partners that are going to be half-time.” Of course, the Nets then cave in December, allowing Irving to return for road games.

Feb. 10, 2022: The Nets trade Harden to Philadelphia, ending the
Big 3 —with the primary return piece Ben Simmons … who then suffers a back injury that keeps him out for the rest of the season. Simmons still has not played a game for the Nets.

April 25, 2022: The Nets are swept by the Celtics in the first round of the playoffs, becoming the NBA’s only 2021-22 postseason team to not win a playoff game. Adding to the humiliation, the Celtics are coached by Ime Udoka, Nash’s former assistant. Further embarrassment ensues when the Celtics and Warriors — Irving’s and Durant’s former teams — meet in the NBA Finals.

The physicality that Kevin Durant (left) and Kyrie Irving faced Wednesday in Memphis is what they can also expect Saturday in Miami.
Kevin Durant (left) and Kyrie Irving
Getty Images

May 11, 2022: In his season-ending remarks, Marks says the Nets want players to “be part of something bigger than themselves, play selfless, play team basketball and be available.” Marks adds, “That goes not only for Kyrie, but for everybody else,” though it’s clear that it’s primarily directed to Irving and his potential free agency.

Monday: Irving is granted permission to seek a sign-and-trade, but — finding nothing suitable thanks to a largely league-wide lack of interest — elects to opt in to the final season of his contract since he won’t have to compromise any of his salary.

Thursday: Durant requests a trade out of Brooklyn, all but ending his tenure here (and likely Irving’s as well), since the Nets plan to try to move him.

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