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When Kevin Durant went to the Brooklyn Nets in 2019 the excitement in New York was palpable. He was quickly followed by Kyrie Irving, which led to further exhilaration for the Brooklyn fans. Rounding out that Dream Team, James Harden joined them for the 2020-21 season, and whispers of comparisons to the Yankee dynasty were heard in the Big Apple. But it was not to be. 

Plagued by injuries, coaching  changes, and discord, the Dream Team played only 16 games together before James Harden was traded to Philadelphia for Ben Simmons et al. I suppose one head case on the team was not sufficient. 
While together, the trio led their Nets to a disappointing second-round playoff elimination in 2021. They dispatched the Celtics in the first round, but fell to the Milwaukee Bucks in the second. After Harden’s departure, they were swept by the Boston Celtics in the first round of the playoffs in 2022. Rumors of Durant’s and Irving’s departures were circulated after that embarrassment, but did not come to fruition. Yet. 
The Nets have had a modestly successful season this year with a record of 32-22. However, the NBA trade deadline is here and the modified Dream Team has been disbanded. This week, Kyrie Irving was traded to the Dallas Mavericks and Kevin Durant to the Phoenix Suns. I suppose the lesson to be learned here is if you want these three uber-talented individuals to play on the same team successfully, you need three basketballs. 
James Harden now averages 21 points a game in Philly. Kyrie Irving got off the plane in Dallas this week and scored 24 for coach Jason Kidd. And, Durant’s trade was a midnight-hour deal last night just ahead of the deadline; and, he should be ready to go for Phoenix after the all-star break. 
Brooklyn got Mikal Bridges, Spencer Dinwiddie, Cameron Johnson, and Dorian Finley-Smith plus eight draft picks for the Irving-Durant duo. Six of those picks are first-round selections. So, while the Dream Team of Durant-Irving-Harden may go down as one of the highest profile debacles in NBA history, this complete change of strategy to acquire new rather than proven talent may revive the whispers of an empire that only New Yorkers understand. 

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