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Nets Media Day: Back to the Future in Brooklyn

What we learned about Brooklyn’s finest at Nets Media Day, headlined by the superstar trio of KD, Kyrie, and Ben Simmons.

Brooklyn Nets fans let out a sigh of relief at Nets Media Day on Monday. Mostly because it was, well, normal. On a day that marked the beginning of the Nets’ 10th year in Brooklyn — generally in humble fashion — the key moments tended to revolve around leaving the past in the past and getting back to what matters the most:

Basketball.

Training camp is officially underway. Preseason is in six days. The regular season begins in 22 days.

Let’s talk about the most important things we learned about the 2022-23 Brooklyn Nets at Media Day.

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The Kevin Durant-Kyrie Irving duo has shown us what it’s capable of in no uncertain terms, but championship teams are built on stability, consistency, and cohesiveness. That’s the key in all of this for Steve Nash and Co., and it’s something the Nets have not had over the past three seasons.

  • Year 1 (2019-20): Durant missed the 2019-20 season due to recovery from a torn Achilles.
  • Year 2 (2020-21): Irving and then-teammate James Harden both sustained injuries late in the season.
  • Year 3 (2021-22): Irving wasn’t able to play home games due to New York’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate. Harden demanded a trade that was ultimately consummated in a deal involving Ben Simmons, who then missed the entire year with a back injury. Sharpshooter Joe Harris (ankle) missed all but 14 games in the regular season.

During the 2021-22 season, Irving ($35.3 million), Simmons ($33 million), and Harris ($17.4) accounted for 49% of the team’s payroll alone. As a result, depth became a glaring issue once Harden headed to Philly and Simmons sat out. After all, they had only recently traded four players and three first-rounders to get Harden from Houston to Brooklyn in January 2021.

As GM Sean Marks and the Nets were forced to navigate last season’s roster limbo, Durant injured his knee; the team answered with a 10-game losing streak. With the NYC COVID vaccine mandate not ending until late March of this year, Brooklyn essentially entered a renewed sort of training camp as they managed to sidestep a play-in game for access to the postseason. What happened next, however, was a first-round elimination at the hands of the eventual Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics.

This brings us back to Nets Media Day at the team’s training facility in Sunset Park.

Last season — as Kyrie willingly described it — was a “clusterfuck.” 

Sure, so much threatened to come to a head this summer, but the members of the team brought a level of honesty and accountability with them to Monday’s events. New chapter? We’ll find out. Entering training camp, in any event, this chapter is a humbler one by comparison.

And perhaps persevering through an offseason of distractions provided exactly what this team needs to right the ship. As KD said:

“It was a year of growth. And a year of us looking in the mirror of, like, we fucked up. As a team. And that only makes you better.”

Now, let’s take a look at what they got brewing with Kyrie and Joe Harris back, while Simmons headlines a new-look team in Kings County.

Who’s New?

NOTE: We’re including more than simply the fresh arrivals here. You’ll figure it out.

Joe Harris (SG/SF): Top 3-point shooter in the NBA (43.9% for his career)

  • Total Salary: 4 years, $75 million
  • 2022-23 Salary: $18.6 million
  • Free Agency: 2024

Kyrie Irving (PG): Scoring, playmaking

  • 2022-23 Salary: 1 year, $36.9 million (player option)
  • Free Agency: 2023

Markieff Morris (PF/C): Enforcer, stretch big, veteran leader

  • Total Salary: 2 years, $4.2 million
  • 2022-23 Salary: $2.9 million
  • Free Agency: 2023

Royce O’Neal (SF): 3-and-D specialist

  • Total Salary: 4 years, $36 million (acquired via trade)
  • 2022-23 Salary: $9.2 million
  • Free Agency: 2024

Ben Simmons (PG/F/C): Versatility with size, defender, and playmaker

  • Total Salary: 5 years, $177.2 million
  • 2022-23 Salary: $35.4 million
  • Free Agency: 2025

Edmond Sumner (PG/SG): Athleticism

  • Total Salary: 2 years, $4.2 million
  • 2022-23 Salary: $1.96 million
  • Free Agency: 2024

T.J. Warren (SF): Playmaker, scorer

  • Total Salary: 1 year, $2.6 million
  • Free Agency: 2023

Nets Team Salary Spending

All payroll figures via Spotrac.

  • Active Roster Payroll: $179,347,538 (No. 3 in NBA)
  • Total Salary Cap Spending: $194,207,215 (No. 3 in NBA)
  • Estimated Luxury Tax Bill: $99.3 million (No. 3 in NBA)
  • Highest-paid player in 2022-23: Kevin Durant ($44.1 million)

Key 2023 Nets Free Agents

  • PG Kyrie Irving: Irving opted into the final year of his initial four-year, $141 million contract.
  • SG Seth Curry: Part of the Harden trade with Philly, Curry will earn $8.5 million this year in the final year of a four-year, $32 million contract.

Brooklyn Nets Futures Betting Odds

All odds via FanDuel Sportsbook

  • To win Atlantic Division: +200
  • To win Eastern Conference: +350
  • To win NBA Finals: +700
  • O/U Win Total: 51.5

Click here to listen to Anthony Puccio’s perspective on Media Day.

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