Full chronology of the Nets explosion

Another season of championship ambitions came to an end at Barclays Center when the Boston Celtics swept the Nets from their own court in Game 4 on Monday. The disappointing result, however, was predictable given the amount of twists and turns the Nets have thrown this season.

Here’s a timeline of the various storms the Nets have endured on their way to an early playoff exit.

OKT. January 12, 2021 – NETS AVOID KIRI

Irving’s decision not to be vaccinated made him ineligible to play home games at the Barclays Center earlier in the season. The Nets exacerbated his availability issues by also banning him from training at home or playing away games.

“Kiri made a personal choice and we respect his personal choice. Selection currently limits his ability to be a full-time member of the team, and we will not allow any member of our team to be part-time,” Nets general manager Sean Marks said Oct. 12. “This is extremely important. that we continue to build chemistry as a team and stay true to our long-standing values ​​of togetherness and self-sacrifice. Our championship goals for the season have not changed, and in order to achieve these goals, every member of our organization must move in the same direction.”


After a particularly poor performance in last year’s playoffs, Harris came out of the net, hitting 46.6% from three-point range. But he significantly sprained his left ankle in a November 14 game in Oklahoma City against the Thunder, and two weeks later he underwent surgery to remove a bone fragment from his injured leg.

“He’s going to have a scope and we’ll see what that means once he gets through the procedure,” Nets head coach Steve Nash said Nov. 29. “We think this is a really positive thing that can put this situation behind us. instead of risking repetition.

“We are confident that the procedure will allow him to come back and not look back.”


When the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus hit the United States, it also rocked the NBA, causing a spike in infections across the league. The option hit the Nets particularly hard, with 13 players concurrently on health and safety protocols in mid-December starting in January, and Patty Mills and Blake Griffin were the only veterans to never test positive for COVID-19 in this season.

As a result of the epidemic, Nets management decided to bring Irving back on a part-time basis, allowing the unvaccinated star to play road games. Shortly after the announcement, Irving tested positive for COVID-19, entered health and safety protocols, and made his season debut in Indiana against the Pacers on January 5.

“A few months ago we made a decision based on what was best for the team,” Marks said Dec. 19. now, during the last week, and whatever the future looks like, it may be behind the scenes for a while.


In a January 15 game against the New Orleans Pelicans, standout rookie Herb Jones pushed Nets defenseman Bruce Brown to the ground as he headed for the rim. Brown slammed right into Kevin Durant’s leg, bending the Nets star’s left knee inward. An MRI revealed an MCL strain that sidelined Durant for a month and a half before the All-Star break.

The Nets spiraled, with Irving playing part-time only, Durant off the rotation, and James Harden still out of shape and the shell of his former MVP, the Nets lost 11 straight games and suffered 18 losses in 21 games.

“Honestly, I feel like our season was derailed by my injury,” Duran said on April 4, after the Nets moved from first place in the East to 10th. “I don’t look at it like we’re just a bad basketball team. There wasn’t a lot of continuity between me and Kairi outside of the lineup. That’s what it is. When we’re all together on the floor, I like what we have.”


With each passing day, it became more and more obvious that Harden no longer wanted to be part of the Nets. He was frustrated with the offensive workload he was forced to carry with and without Irving while Durant suffered a knee injury, and reports began to emerge of his desire to play in Philadelphia with Joel Embiid and his former Rockets grandmaster Daryl. Maury.

At the trade deadline, the Nets sent Harden and veteran forward Paul Millsap to Philadelphia for Ben Simmons, Andre Drummond, Seth Curry and two first-round picks.

“I think we got better,” Blake Griffin said after the trade deadline. “We definitely got what we wanted: guys who want to be here and guys who want to play.”


Harris’ first surgery didn’t work and he ended up having a setback during his set to get back in the game. He sought a second opinion from a doctor in Indianapolis and tried one last time to become healthy enough to help his team.

Ultimately, this was to no avail. Harris’ ankle required a second and season-ending operation, depriving the Nets of a shooter who had led the NBA in efficiency in two of the last five seasons.

“Joe did everything he could to avoid surgery,” Marks said on March 3. We are terribly worried about Joe. We all know how much he means to this band. He’s the only stalwart that’s been here since the beginning and that he wasn’t part of this run that we’re going to continue, physically on the court, I couldn’t put it into words, but I know Joe feels it: heartbroken from -for not being able to be on the court and contribute.”


Following pressure from the New York Yankees and Mets on their unvaccinated MLB players, Mayor Adams introduced an exception to New York City’s vaccination mandate that allowed unvaccinated professional athletes to play home games without meeting the single-dose requirement.

The decision allowed Irving, who had previously only been eligible to play part-time, to return to full-time status. However, Irving’s brain was ahead of his feet. Conditioning quickly became a sticking point as its effectiveness declined as the number of games on the schedule increased.

He made just 38 of his first 105 shots after becoming a full-time player and admitted that dead feet may have been the cause of his shooting problems.

“Yeah, maybe,” Irving agreed after scoring 12-for-32 in a loss to the Hawks. “I don’t rule it out, but I’m not here to make excuses why I’m not doing well offensively.”

“I think Kyrie is adjusting to playing every night, every other night,” Nash added.

Ben Simmons Saga

Curry replaced Harris as a brace in the Nets’ starting lineup and Drummond brought some much-needed paint to the front court, but the Nets needed Simmons to replace Harden in the game and call up an often sluggish defense.

But they never got it. Simmons has never worn a Nets jersey this season. He wasn’t in play shape when he got to Brooklyn and then suffered a herniated disc while building up his fitness. In mid-March, Simmons received an epidural to relieve pain related to his back injury, but never improved enough to return to the Nets’ short-lived playoff streak.

“There’s no other way than to say, ‘I’m ready,’ especially after such a long absence,” Nash told TD Garden. “So whenever he’s ready, he’ll have to say, ‘I feel comfortable’, ‘I feel like I’m ready to go’, ‘I want to play’, ‘I want to contribute.’ We can’t push him somewhere when you’ve been away for so long. It has to be something that he definitely feels comfortable with and is ready to play in.”


On paper, the Heat and the Bucks were the two worst first-round playoff games the Nets could have drawn, but the Celtics also proved to be of a different caliber.

The Nets never had an answer to the Celtics’ attack on Durant and Irving, and Boston took full advantage of the Nets’ disadvantage by hitting them on glass and paint. The Celtics swept the Nets off their own field in four games, hammering the final nail into the season’s coffin, which was devastated by a hurricane of off-field events that ultimately ruined the on-court product.

“Christian, you’ve done a good job telling us where we’ve come this year,” Nash said ahead of Game 4. “I think this is an important reason why we are in (this) position. The lack of continuity, Kevin has to carry such a heavy burden to keep us in the playoff picture, all these things off the court also play a role in what happens on the court. So they are equal, and there is no doubt that this affects the course of the season. Too many things holding us back for moments and pockets.”