Denver Nuggets forward Bruce Brown was on the Brooklyn Nets roster that featured a three-headed monster of James Harden, Kevin Durant, and Kyrie Irving. Brown saw one star depart Brooklyn when the Nets traded Harden to the Philadelphia 76ers in 2022. However, he moved on from the Nets to join the Nuggets last summer and thus did not stick around long enough to live through the turmoil that led to Brooklyn trading both Durant and Irving at the trade deadline.
Despite being on the outside looking in when the trades happened, Brown says he was not surprised to see the Nets move on from their All-Star duo.
“No, [I’m not surprised]. Not really, no. No, I think everyone was not. Everyone’s not surprised with what happened, because they both … KD requested a trade, and there was a lot going on in the summer. So, I think it was good for both parties to move on,” Brown said to Brian Lewis of the New York Post after the Nuggets’ victory over the Nets on March 19.
“Once the summer [trade request occurred], it could happen. They started off playing really well, and then when the Ky situation came about you knew they were going to move him, so, end of an era.”
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Bruce Brown Had Breakout Season With Nets in 2022
After the Nets completed a blockbuster trade that sent Harden and Paul Millsap to the Sixers, Brown’s level of play expanded exponentially. Per Stat Muse, he averaged 13.9 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 3.5 assists in 27 games for the Nets during that span.
Brown’s play elevated even more once the Nets made it to the postseason. Per Stat Muse, he averaged 14.0 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 2.8 assists in the first round of the playoffs against the Boston Celtics.
Brown could have been the perfect player to insert off the bench on this current Nets squad. He has a skill set similar to Ben Simmons because he can rebound, defend and be a playmaker. He is also an above-average three-point shooter at 36.5% for the season. But in the end, the Nets decided to go a different direction last summer and did not offer Brown a new deal when he became a free agent last July.
Jeff Green Chimes in on Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving Trades
The Nets seemingly had all the pieces they needed to win a title after landing Harden from the Rockets. A three-level-scorer in Durant, a ball-handling wizard in Kyrie, and a master playmaker in Harden. But unfortunately, the Nets’ three-headed monster never grew legs. They played just 16 games together, with a record of 13-3 in that span.
The Nets showed what they were capable of when fully healthy. In the 2021 playoffs, they beat the Celtics in five games and then took the Milwaukee Bucks to the brink, despite not having Irving and Harden for most of the series. The Harden, Kyrie, KD era will go down as one of the biggest what-ifs in sports history, and perhaps they should have waited longer to blow it up. But Nuggets forward Jeff Green, who also spent time with that Nets super team, says it was time for both sides to move on.
“I don’t know if I’m surprised,” Jeff Green told the New York Post. “But at the end of the day, we realize that it is a business. It was stuff that both sides couldn’t really control, and it ran its course.”