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Nets outlook heading into 2022 offseason

The Nets have been eliminated from the postseason. Here’s how they look heading into the offseason.

Boston Celtics v Brooklyn Nets - Game Four
Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets celebrates his three point shot in the first quarter against the Boston Celtics during Game Four of the Eastern Conference First Round Playoffs against the Boston Celtics at Barclays Center on April 25, 2022 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.
Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

The Brooklyn Nets had one of the most tumultuous seasons in recent memory, with several incidents shifting the makeup of their roster and ultimately sealing their fate. The Nets got swept in the first round of the 2022 playoffs at the hands of the Boston Celtics, leading to a lot of questions as the team heads into the offseason.

2021-22 season recap

This year began with a lot of promise as the Nets were the favorites to win the NBA title per DraftKings Sportsbook. Kyrie Irving refused to comply with a vaccine mandate for New York City, ruling him out for home games. The Nets said he wouldn’t be a part-time player, so Irving was basically not on the team. This ultimately frustrated James Harden, who would be traded to the 76ers at the deadline in exchange for Seth Curry, Ben Simmons, Andre Drummond and draft capital. Irving eventually came back and played in road games until the mandate was lifted. Durant suffered his own injury in the second half of the season, which ultimately cost the Nets playoff positioning. The team got out of the play-in tournament but it was clear the Celtics would be a tough matchup. Eventually, Boston’s physical style and aggressive play overwhelmed Brooklyn in a sweep.

2022 offseason priorities

Simmons was rumored to return for Game 4 but eventually complained of back pain and didn’t take the floor. He wasn’t even in the arena for the final game. Joe Harris’ injury was another tough blow for the Nets, who didn’t have enough perimeter shooting at times around Durant and Irving. Getting both those players back on the court is paramount for Brooklyn to be successful.

Irving is a free agent, and he will certainly opt out. The Nets have to make a decision on him, because Irving has only played 60 or more games in a season four times in his career. That’s not the availability you want from a max player, especially one who has shown he will leave the team for any reason he can think of. Bruce Brown and Nic Claxton are other players the Nets will have to consider bringing back. Patty Mills could opt into his contract but he might be on the way out if Brooklyn believes Cam Thomas can fill in for the veteran.