The Brooklyn Nets entered the season as favorites to win the 2021-22 NBA title per DraftKings Sportsbook. Despite some injuries and Kyrie Irving’s unvaccinated status resulting in him being a part-time player, the Nets are still considered the favorite. Durant’s recent injury has thrown a slight wrench into Brooklyn’s plans, but the goal of a championship is still attainable. The Nets do expect Durant back at some point in the regular season. Joe Harris should also be back.
James Harden has recently hinted at leaving the Nets in the summer, with Irving’s part-time status being one of the pain points for him. Brooklyn will have the best selling point for Harden if the team is able to win a title or make the Finals, but that could be tough if the Nets get home-court advantage in the playoffs due to Irving being ineligible for home games.
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If trading Irving means Harden’s commitment, then the Nets should do it. If there was a potential Game 7 of a playoff series in Brooklyn, Irving wouldn’t take the floor unless the team pays the vaccine mandate violation fine. The amount is not the issue; the optics are. Irving has put himself ahead of his teammates and the pursuit of a championship. If there’s a deal where the Nets bring back a star who can play every game, they should do it with no hesitation. Durant and Harden haven’t called out Irving, saying he’s “a grown man” who can make his own decisions. They can also be grown men if Irving gets traded and put any hurt feelings aside to win a title.