The era that never was came to a close for the Brooklyn Nets early Thursday morning. Three days after trading Kyrie Irving to the Dallas Mavericks, Brooklyn agreed to send 13-time All-Star Kevin Durant to the Phoenix Suns for Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, Jae Crowder, four first-round picks and one first-round pick swap. Nets forward T.J. Warren also heads to Phoenix as part of the deal.

As Durant walks out the door, so does any hope of the Nets competing for a championship.

It was just a month ago that Brooklyn had won 18 of 20, the best stretch in franchise history, with Durant leading the way. Nets fans had collective nightmare flashbacks when the forward sprained his MCL on Jan. 8 in Miami. Two and a half weeks later, Kyrie Irving publically voiced his desire to make Brooklyn his long-term home, a feeling the Nets did not reciprocate, leading the guard to request a trade Friday.

The Durant deal is the culmination of the bombshell five-day period for Brooklyn. The former MVP was not as forward as Irving in his approach, but ESPN insider Adrian Wojnarowski reported Tuesday that the Nets and Durant “were having ongoing conversations on the direction of the franchise.” Having already requested a trade last summer, those conversations ended in the inevitable realization that the fourth-year Net again wanted out.

Durant had Phoenix, as well as Miami, on his preferred list of destinations during the offseason. With the forward getting his wish, we break down the deal for both sides and assign grades:

Brooklyn Nets: C+

The Nets receive two talented young wings in Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson. Bridges is among the top defenders in the league while averaging a career-high 17.2 points on 38.7 percent shooting from 3-point range this season. The 26-year-old is in the first year of a four-year, $91 million contract.

Johnson is an elite floor spacer, shooting 43.1 percent from 3-point land on 5.9 attempts per game over his last two seasons. At 6'8″, the 26-year-old offers another versatile wing who can defend across multiple positions. Johnson is a restricted free agent this offseason and Brooklyn will surely look to extend the forward.

The Nets also acquired Jae Crowder, who has not played this year while holding out for a trade. With the forward on an expiring contract, Brooklyn will explore trade scenarios ahead of the deadline, according to Wojnarowski. As it pertains to draft capital, the deal allows the Nets to recoup picks lost in the 2021 James Harden trade with Brooklyn receiving unprotected first-rounders in 2023, 2025, 2027, and 2029, as well as a 2028 swap.

Nets general manager Sean Marks acquires a highly coveted two-way wing in Bridges, as well as a versatile 3-and-D forward in Johnson, but this is not the overwhelming return you'd expect for arguably the greatest player to ever be traded. Given what Durant does for Phoenix's title hopes, you'd think Brooklyn would have pushed hard for Suns center Deandre Ayton to be included. Even if the Nets didn't want to keep Ayton because of already having Nic Claxton, flipping him to a third team could have netted them more assets.

Kevin Durant's advanced age and clear desire to make Phoenix his new home may have hurt the Nets' leverage in negotiations. Brooklyn comes away with two high-level starters and replenishes draft capital, but it's hard to walk away thrilled if you're a Nets fan.

Phoenix Suns: A

After the title window appeared to be nearing a close, Phoenix busts it back open in dramatic fashion here. Kevin Durant was having a historically efficient start to the season before injuring his knee, averaging 29.7 points on 55.9 percent shooting, the league’s best mark among 60 players attempting 14 or more shots per game.

Teams tried and failed to slow the forward down in various ways early on. None of it mattered. Durant navigated shifting defensive coverages with ease, carrying Brooklyn up the standings in the process. The all-time great can shoot over anyone from the mid-post, pull up off the dribble or attack and finish above the rim when any opening presents itself.

Durant is now paired with one of the league's top scorers in Devin Booker, giving Phoenix one of the deadliest 1-2 punches in recent NBA memory. Good luck trying to cover that pick-and-roll pairing. Booker was already playing at an All-NBA level prior to his injury. Add in a floor general in Chris Paul to ensure Durant gets the ball in his spots, as well as an offensively gifted center in Deandre Ayton, and Phoenix immediately jumps towards being the favorite in the Western Conference.

New Suns owner Mat Ishbia wanted to make a splash upon stepping in just a day ahead of the trade deadline. He did so by pulling off one of the biggest trades in franchise history.