Celtics ruined the Nets

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They were called the greatest basketball team of all-time. Then the Celtics swept them out of the playoffs, and now they’re blowing it up.

Durant wants out of Brooklyn

Boston came two games short in its quest to knock off the Warriors and win the NBA championship. But this isn’t a bad constellation price.

It’s all over in Brooklyn less than two years after it started. The Nets signed Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in 2019 and acquired James Harden in January 2021 to complete their trio of superstars. They bulldozed through the Celtics last postseason, but failed to advance past the Bucks in the semifinals. Shockingly, Irving got hurt, leaving them undermanned.

As it turns out, that was the pinnacle of their expected dynastic run. The Nets limped to an unimpressive 44-38 record last season, playing most of their games without Irving, who couldn’t play at home due to his refusal to comply with New York City’s vaccine mandate. Harden forced his way out of town, and in return the Nets landed Ben Simmons, a basketball player who doesn’t play basketball.

In the end, Durant, Harden and Irving only played 16 games together. Durant and Irving were together for 44 games, four of which came against the Celtics this postseason.

Durant shot just 38.6 percent from the field in the series, and Irving flipped off Celtics fans. All season long, he raised his middle finger towards Nets management, so it was a fitting gesture.

Last summer, Irving walked on “Lucky” and basically called Celtics fans racist. This summer, he’s an unwanted commodity.

Irving seemingly wanted out of Brooklyn. The Nets reportedly granted him permission to seek a sign-and-trade, but the Lakers were his only suitor. Without any options, Irving exercised his $37 million player option, and dared to tell us that “normal people keep the world going, but those who dare to be different lead us into tomorrow.”

Amazingly, those wise words weren’t enough to satisfy Durant. On Thursday, insatiable NBA Insiders Shams Charania and Adrian Wojnarowski reported within one minute of each other that Durant wants to be traded. Durant and Irving have had no contact with the Nets since Irving opted into his deal, according to Woj.

The Heat and Suns are reportedly two of Durant’s preferred destinations, but the Celtics could be lurking. Team broadcaster Brian Scalabrine floated the possibility on NBC Sports Boston’s pre-draft show last week of Durant coming to Boston.

Team broadcasters don’t usually just throw out blockbuster trade ideas on the team network to stir the pot. It’s apparent Scalabrine knows something.

That would be a fitting end, would it not? Nine years ago, the Celtics fleeced the Nets and sent them aging versions of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce for three first round picks. The Nets never advanced past the semifinals with KG and Pierce, while the Celtics turned two of their picks into Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum.

It was the definition of a basketball coup.

Now, the Celtics could deal Brown for Durant, and pair the 12-time All-Star with Tatum.

Pretty sweet.

The Celtics shouldn’t blindly trade Brown for Durant. He’s 34 years old and has battled injuries in recent seasons. The Celtics exposed Durant in the playoffs, too. He may not be a true alpha.

Regardless, the Celtics are in a great position. Meanwhile, the Nets are trying to salvage their franchise —again.

The Celtics won this war.