How Sweet it Is!: Why the Brooklyn Nets Will be a Force to Reckon With for Years to Come

The Nets have been a franchise of moving pieces since its inception. They’ve called four cities in two states home in just over fifty years. They’ve played in both the ABA and the NBA, had two different names, and swapped colorways innumerable times. Of all that comes and goes with the Nets, only one move (or rather, one horrendous series of moves) remains infamously etched into the minds of basketball fans, burned into the hearts of Brooklynites and New Jerseyans alike.

In 2014, The Brooklyn Nets backcourt was smooth. Teo in Bushwick’s baby octopus smooth. Recent All-Star Deron Williams and Joe Johnson (who was named an All-Star that season) were the faces of the borough- “Brooklyn’s Backcourt”. Brook Lopez was another stalwart in the team. The Nets won 49 games that season- but, as SNY’s Anthony Puccio said, “it wasn’t enough.”

“It was never enough.”

That offseason, the Nets traded four unprotected first round draft picks and five players to the Boston Celtics, in exchange for past-prime Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Jason Terry, in what is now labeled the worst trade in NBA history. In a more poetic summary, Brooklyn traded away their future for the present.

Fast-forward five years, and the future looks bright. The Nets ended the season 42-40, sent D’Angelo Russell to Charlotte for the All-Star game, along with Three Point Contest Winner Joe Harris (who ended the regular season with the best 3-Point percentage at 47.4%). Young talent such as Rodions Kurucs and Jarrett Allen, a hardworking Spencer Dinwiddie, and veterans DeMarre Carroll, Ed Davis, and Jared Dudley, all helped the Nets develop their identity this year as a no-quit, sky’s the limit team.

No future? Fuhgeddaboutit.

The Nets made the post-season for the first time in four years, and despite a Gentleman’s Sweep courtesy of the Philadelphia 76ers, the Nets can be proud of their season. With their draft picks finally theirs again, hot young talent, and some cap space for a big-name free agent this offseason, the future looks bright.

Throw in the fact that they play in one of the biggest- if not THE biggest- markets in the NBA (The City so Nice, they Named it Twice), and represent a neighborhood known for its hard work and integrity as much as for its trendy coffeeshops and clubs, the Nets are a no-brainer for free agents to consider relocating to.

“There is a lot of opportunity here. It’s an organization that is on the rise,” D’Angelo Russell said in an interview with The Undefeated about his new home at the Barclays Center.

As a result, a few huge free agents have been linked to a move to the borough. Kyrie Irving, who grew up in West Orange, New Jersey, might seek to move closer to home to rekindle his spark which Beantown never quite ignited. While the Knicks were front-runners to be a landing spot for Irving, Caesar’s gave the Nets the best odds to sign the guard. Other free agents, such as Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant, Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris have also been discussed as potential newcomers to the Barclays.

“This is a top notch organization,” Ed Davis said in his exit interview at the end of April. “They say family and they stand by that.”

Next time you cross the Kosciuszko Bridge into the borough, look up:

Welcome to Brooklyn. Believe the Hype.