Nets’ Big 3 can alter franchise’s tortured history

Here’s the factor concerning the Nets:

They don’t even get full credit score for authoring one of many actually nice curses within the history of sports activities. Think about it: There was a cottage business crafted across the Red Sox promoting off Babe Ruth. There had been performs written concerning the Cubs’ refusal to let Billy Sianis’ goat into Wrigley Field for the 1945 World Series.

Those had been the Granddaddies of Curses. But even lesser ones get extra burn: the Arizona Cardinals (after they had been based mostly in Chicago) having stolen the 1925 NFL Championship from the Pottsville Maroons. The Lions buying and selling Bobby Layne in 1958. The Indians buying and selling Rocky Colavito in 1960. The Rangers burning the mortgage contained in the Stanley Cup.

On and on.

But what of the Curse of the Doctor?

What concerning the Nets selling Julius Erving at the absolute peak of his power, on Oct. 21, 1976? Roy Boe, the Nets’ proprietor, was hemorrhaging cash: he owed the Knicks a $4 million indemnity charge for becoming a member of the NBA. He already had paid the NBA a $3.2 million entry charge. Erving was demanding a brand new $500,000 annual contract.

And Boe barely had a pot to … effectively, cry in.

“I got a call Monday,” Nets GM Bill Melchionni stated on the day the music died for the ultimate ABA champs, “and I was told, ‘We have no choice. Make the best deal you can.’ ”

In the quick time period, it started a interval of grievous exodus among the many New York’s child brothers: over the following 10 months the Nets, Mets and Jets parted methods with Erving, Tom Seaver and Joe Namath, who hadn’t merely starred for his or her groups, however had made every one credible.

In the 45 years since, these groups have mixed for one (1) title. The Mets have tortured their followers loads. The Jets may very well be arrested for the psychological cruelty they usually inflict.

But the Nets …

Well, the Nets’ checklist of transgressions is equal elements baroque and weird, calamitous and catastrophic, dreadful and deplorable. They have principally been buffoonish losers these previous 45 years with the occasional dollop of prosperity, with looming dread and doom at all times lurking within the subsequent room.

Maybe the Big 3 can alter that course.

Kyrie Irving #11, James Harden #13 and and Kevin Durant #7 of the Brooklyn Nets walk off the court
Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, and James Harden can alter an extended, tortured Nets history.
Getty Images

Maybe Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving can slam the trunk shut on 4 ½ a long time of futility that has outlined nearly each second the Nets have been members in good standing of the NBA.

It’s humorous, too. When the Nets performed with a crimson, white and blue ball, they had been a refreshing and sometimes feel-good various for New York basketball followers, even in a time when these followers had been principally engrossed by the perfect Knicks groups ever fashioned.

The 1972 Nets made the ABA Finals throughout Rick Barry’s temporary time right here. In each 1974 and 1976, the Nets received titles behind the ascending brilliance of Erving, who made dunking trendy and allowed the Nets to fill the void of the post-championship Knicks.

That first NBA season, the Nets had a fairly formidable Big 3 lined up — Erving, Tiny Archibald, Super John Williamson. Their first NBA recreation, Oct. 22, 1976, towards Barry and Golden State, was to be nationally televised. The Nets had been fixing to zoom previous the Knicks.

Then Boe known as Melchionni.

And Melchionni known as Pat Williams, the 76ers’ GM.

And by the point the Nets’ landed at San Francisco International, CBS had canceled the telecast. The Nets’ NBA future lay in splinters. And Super John was telling The Post’s Jim O’Brien: “What a way to enter the NBA. Damn. The season’s over for us already.”

And then got here the following 45 years.

Then got here 27 shedding seasons — together with 18 of at the least 50 losses, six of at the least 60 losses and one (2009-10) after they chased the 1973 Sixers all 12 months for standing of worst staff, all time, after they began 0-18 and 2-29 and 3-40 earlier than rallying to finish at 10-72.

Then got here an never-ending collection of unlucky occasions, starting with Archibald tearing his Achilles 34 video games into his Nets profession. Bernard King was sensible for a time with the Nets, however his battles with alcoholism shortly received him exiled to Utah, and after he straightened out, the Nets needed to watch him turn out to be a people hero throughout the Hudson.

Micheal Ray Richardson was a superb burst of vitality … however that was earlier than the three drug suspensions that ended his profession at age 30. Chuck Daly as soon as led a Nets revival behind Derrick Coleman and Kenny Anderson that gave the impression to be each bit as formidable because the one Pat Riley was constructing with the Knicks … till, one terrible Sunday, Anderson went up for a layup, John Starks hammered him, Anderson broke his wrist and … effectively, that was that.

That got here 9 months after Drazen Petrovic, who became a crowd-pleasing star as a Net, was killed in an accident on the Autobahn in Germany. To at the present time Willis Reed, then the Nets’ GM, can’t converse of Petrovic with out tearing up.

“A little piece of me died that day, too,” he stated in 2007.

Drazen Petrovic #3 of the New Jersey Nets works out in home
Drazen Petrovic’s dying continues to be a tough subject for the Nets.
Getty Images

The Nets descended into slapstick, and worse. Stephon Marbury scrawled “ALL ALONE” on his ankle tape; Chris Morris etched “TRADE ME” on his sneakers. On Jan. 16, 1999, they signed Jayson Williams to a seven-year, $100 million contract; precisely 76 days and 30 video games later, Williams suffered a career-ending damaged leg. Within three years Williams had been accused of killing his limo driver, and he ended up serving 5 years for aggravated assault.

Is that sufficient of a curse for you, physician?

Consider: The Nets’ lone moments of NBA glory had been Jason Kidd’s doing; he was acquired for Marbury on draft evening, 2001. Kidd completed second within the 2002 MVP vote, led the Nets to back-to-back Finals, engineered the NBA’s most lovely basketball present for 4 years working. Then he soured on the Nets. He determined at some point to not present up for work, in an effort to get coach Byron Scott fired.

Scott was fired. Kidd departed not lengthy after. In 2013, the Nets — now in Brooklyn — stunningly introduced Kidd again to educate Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Deron Williams. After a sluggish begin, Kidd led them to their most up-to-date playoff collection win. Then he tried to drag an influence play, dabbled with the Bucks job … and once more a tenure with the Nets resulted in flames.

Brooklyn Nets head coach Jason Kidd reacts during the first quarter.
Jason Kidd grew to become a Nets villain two instances over.
Ray Stubblebine

Consider: The Nets will go a interval of 14 years — 2014-2027 — with out controlling their very own first-round draft decide. The first stretch was on account of the commerce with Boston that yielded Garnett and Pierce and (*3*). The latter can be judged based mostly on what the Big 3 do.

Consider: The Nets have retired seven uniform jerseys.

Two died younger — Petrovic (3) and Wendell Ladner (4), killed in a 1975 aircraft crash.

Three belong to Erving (32), Williamson (23) and Melchionni (25) — the franchise icon exiled for cash; his sidekick equally shipped to Indiana just a few months later; and the franchise’s first star level guard turned GM, compelled to drag the set off on each offers.

One belongs to Kidd (5) — who twice poured gasoline on his Nets legacy.

At least there’s Buck Williams (52).

And now … the Big 3. Wherever they could lead.

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