In a shocking turn of events, Kevin Durant and the Brooklyn Nets made amends and vowed to run it back next season. Steve Nash, Sean Marks, and Kyrie Irving will also be there, but that's not the whole story.
It's been so long since Ben Simmons was on the court that people seemed to forget about him. But he's been cleared for three-on-three basketball activities, and his recovery is reportedly right on schedule.
Needless to say, that Big 3 of Durant, Irving, and Simmons puts the Nets in a privileged position in the Eastern Conference. That's why famous coach Rick Pitino believes they're championship-bound if they use Simmons in a Draymond-Green type of role.
NBA News: Nets Should Use Ben Simmons Like Draymond Green, Claims Rick Pitino
"Well, that's a championship-caliber team," Pitino told NJ Advance Media. "If you have three great players [in Durant, Kyrie Irving and Ben Simmons], they're going to get injured, they're going to miss some games."
"You have to make sure that four through eight [on the roster] can play that role because they are going to get hurt and in the case of some of the guys on the Nets, they miss a lot of games. You have to make sure that 4-8 can play and it doesn't get any better than Kyrie and Kevin Durant," Pitino added. "Every team needs a Draymond Green and I think Simmons probably will serve that role. He's the playmaker, he's the defensive player."
That assessment could be right on point. Simmons is clearly not a go-to guy, offensively, but he's one of the best, most gifted defenders and playmakers in the league. He could take what Green has done with the Warriors and do it twice as good.
The Nets are once again the team to beat in the East, at least on paper. So, hopefully, they won't let their huge egos stand in their way again and will finally fulfill the untapped potential they have.