Free Agency in 2019 was wild, to say the least. Out of all 30 NBA teams, Brooklyn is being viewed as the winner of free agency. From what some may call "The Worst Trade Ever", General Manager Sean Marks entered his current position and promised a rebuild. The Nets were without first round draft picks and had no veteran talent. In 2016, the Nets top players were Brook Lopez and Jarrett Jack. At the end of June 30th, their top players are Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant.
Kyrie Iriving will be replacing D'Angelo Russell as the Nets starting Point Guard. Irving was the 2011-12 Rookie of the Year, 6x All-Star, 2x All-NBA, 2014 FIBA MVP, and a 2015-16 NBA Champion. He has also reached the playoffs 4 times in his 6 year career. Irving obviously has loads of playoff experience which will be helpful to a relatively young/inexperienced team. There has been controversy of Irving in Boston about being a poor teammate. It is understandable why this may make fans nervous.
Irving was TRADED to Boston from Cleveland. It was not his choice to go to the Celtics. He attempted to silence some drama by saying he would stay in Boston after his contract was up. Clearly, that was not the case. Irving is an Elizabeth, New Jersey native and grew up a Nets fan. The fact that there is a prior connection is a great motivating factor for Irving to play well. Irving will make a large impact immediately to a Nets team that has not surpassed 50 wins since the 2001-02 season when they were still located in New Jersey.
Kevin Durant has been a top-5 player every season since his arrival into the league. As everybody witnessed, Durant tore his achilles in Game 5 and will miss the entirety of the 2019-20 season. Kevin Durant was the 2007-08 Rookie of the Year, 2013-14 MVP, 4x Scoring Champ, 9x All-NBA, 10x All-Star, 2x Finals MVP, and 2x NBA Champion. Durant is a true leader and has the potential to push this team over the edge when he returns from his torn achilles for the 2020-21 season.
Durant has ample experience performing in the playoffs. In 139 games, he has reached the NBA Finals 4 times, scored 4043 points, picked up 114 offensive rebounds, and recorded 557 assists. Defensively, Durant has 957 boards, 139 steals, and 163 blocked shots. Clearly, Durant is solid on both ends of the floor, and this is just his playoff career.
In addition to these major acquisitions, the Nets were also able sign 6'11, 265-pound big man, DeAndre Jordan. Jordan averaged 11 PPG with 13.1 RPG. He is a great role model for youngster, Jarrett Allen, to learn from. Jordan will also be starting this year alongside (projected) Irving, Caris LeVert, Joe Harris, and Taurean Prince.
The Nets will feature three new starters, and have a deep bench. Brooklyn released Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Jared Dudley has been signed by the Lakers, and traded Shabazz Napier, Theo Pinson, and D'Angelo Russell to the Warriors. The Nets in addition have traded for Taurean Prince, acquired Garrett Temple, and a first-round pick from Golden State in the Russell trade.
While the expectations are high for Brooklyn this upcoming season, they should realistically be a 4 seed. Anything beyond that, should be considered 'surpassed expectations'. The legitimate Championship-run talks should occur when Durant returns from his injury. Needless to say, this Brooklyn team will be exciting for the next 4 years until Durant and Irving's contracts run out. The upcoming seasons should be extremely interesting for Brooklyn.