Superteams are constantly rising and falling in the NBA, and the Brooklyn Nets became the latest Petri dish experiment to fail Thursday when they traded James Harden to the Philadelphia 76ers for Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond, and two first-round picks.
The trade ended the Nets' superteam era before it even got off the ground. Harden played just 16 games with both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving before forcing his way to Philadelphia to reunite with Daryl Morey.
Brooklyn's Big Three failure is the latest superteam to burn bright and fast but fizzle before finishing drawing up their dynastic blueprints.
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Over the past decade, superteams, both real and imagined, have sprouted up across the NBA from Los Angeles to Cleveland to Philadelphia and Miami. While those have sprouted up and quickly wilted or gotten ripped out, the Warriors' home-grown dynastic core has remained intact and loyal.
While Harden quit on the Houston Rockets to get to Brooklyn only to push his way out 12 months later, Steph Curry never wavered in his desire to be a Warrior for life.
As Anthony Davis refused to play for the New Orleans Pelicans to get to Los Angeles, Draymond Green put down his roots in the Bay without a second thought.
When Durant waved goodbye to Golden State after two titles in three seasons, Klay Thompson didn't even peruse the open market.
Golden State Warriors
Los Angeles? No thanks. New York? Nope. Miami? Maybe in a different life.
After their 2019 NBA Finals loss, the Warriors entered a two-year dynastic reboot. They sunk all the way to damn near rock bottom during the 2019-2020 season. Thompson missed the entire season, Curry played in just five games, and Green got to take a season to rest his legs after five grueling playoff runs.
The Warriors started ticking back up last season thanks to Curry's return. But with Thompson once again missing the season and little reliable depth, Golden State was bounced from the play-in tournament.
It would have been easy for Curry, still at the height of his powers, to look at the Warriors and their plan to contend while simultaneously rebuilding for the future and think, "I'll take my chances elsewhere."
But as the superfriends are linking up and breaking up around the NBA, the Warriors' core remained steadfast in their desire to be loyal to the Bay and win in Golden State.
What Curry, Thompson, and Green are is potentially the last of a bygone era. A dynastic triumvirate that has fought, won, lost, and grown together. A championship trio that has known only one home and wants only one home. One that spent years creating a culture that could get the best out of whoever arrived to join their title quest.
There has been no need or desire for Curry, Thompson, or Green to go ring chasing. There are no greener pastures. No better teammates to join. No better fit to seek.
On Feb 2, 2021, shortly after he arrived in Brooklyn, Harden tweeted out a photo of him, Durant, and Irving with the caption: "Scary hours."
Indeed, the NBA's new grim reaper had been built and brought to life in New York's most populous borough. It spent six hours and four minutes on the court together before Harden hit the eject button.
Now, he's on to his next venture. A pairing with Joel Embiid that, on paper, should be dynamic. It's also one that, knowing Harden, likely won't last long.
For 10 years, Curry, Thompson and Green have played side-by-side. There have been momentous wins and heartbreaking losses. They lived at the top of the NBA for five years and stayed as the Warriors tumbled back down. There has been no drama, no ultimatums, no trade requests and no desire to do anything other than win together. To build something to last. To have a collective legacy with the franchise that first believed in them.
In an NBA world built around constant change, the Warriors started from the ground up, and the foundation has remained solid and unshakable. The gold standard of stability surrounded by those fascinated by building a contender on the go.
The carcasses of would-have-been superteams are scattered across the league. At the same time, the potentially last remaining organic championship core remains intact and has returned to the forefront of the league.
As stable and dangerous as ever.