The Brooklyn Nets' Dream Team Was a Nightmare

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In hindsight, the idea of putting Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden on one team was not a particularly good one. But one understands the thought process because all three of them are generational players who could have figured out a way to leverage their different talents to bring a championship — or championships — to the Brooklyn Nets. So it made all the sense in the world that this trio would become poster boys for the magazine cover scene at the time.

Mark Ulriksen worked his magic for the New Yorker, a famously myopic piece of real estate with a long history of elevating anything happening around the five boroughs over everything else.

The not-so-subtle implication was that the Nets would finally become New York's basketball team, annexing eyeballs and interest from the long-suffering Knicks, who despite a lack of success are at the center of the hoops universe throughout the Tri-State area. And through a certain lens, that happened for a bit. Certainly not for the right reasons, though.

There's no sugarcoating the results of this grand experiment. It was an abject failure as one stumble morphed into another. Brooklyn became the guy struggling to wash his car during an infomercial, stepping on every available rake in wildly entertaining fashion.

These past few years, to steal a Darren Rovellism, have been truly terrible for the organization, yet a bottomless bucket of tremendous content. Dealing Kevin Durant to the Phoenix Suns mere hours after finally cutting the Kyrie Irving cord put the final embarrassing nail in a coffin of Joe Tsai's own making.

All of it seems easy to predict because, well, it was easy to predict. The Nets built a fortress made of Swiss cheese and gave far too much power to an online conspiracy influencer and a de facto GM with a sketchy track record of hiring. The answer was always in plain sight.

ESPN's Randy Scott, in a now iconic Tweet, gave the game away long ago.

What's craziest is that one can imagine an event horizon where freeing themselves from enormous talent with enormous baggage actually improves the Nets' trajectory. That sound you hear through the cope is a desperate plea to let Cam Thomas cook. So even as Brooklyn channels it's Michael Bluth, opening up a paper bag labeled "Dead Dove — Do NOT Eat" and wondering what they expected, they should harbor a shred of optimism because their nightmare of a Dream Team is now over. We could be in the beginning stages of the greatest addition-by-subtraction test case ever observed.

Or, you know, the jokes will remain eternal as the franchise grows smaller and smaller over the East River horizon.

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