Nets’ Kevin Durant, James Harden, Kyrie Irving super-team gets savagely bashed by Julius Erving
Julius Erving may be the most iconic figure in Nets lore, but he isn’t a fan of how the 2020-21 Brooklyn Nets — which may end up as the greatest team in the history of the franchise — has come together.
During an appearance on Philadelphia 76ers’ wing Danny Green’s “Inside the Green Room” podcast, Erving criticized Brooklyn for “buying” their way in contention, a la the George Steinbrenner-era New York Yankees.
“It’s reminiscent of how the Yankees used to do it all the time. They load up – they call it ‘buying a championship.’ The Lakers are known for doing that too,” Erving said, via Dan Roche of NBC Sports Philadelphia.
“They’re getting all these pieces … they don’t know at the end of the season what it’s going to look like or what it’s going to feel like, but they’re going to be formidable. You’ve got a team with six former All-Stars, and three [All-NBA] guys who have been there and succeeded in the playoffs.”
Erving starred for the New York Nets of the ABA, who played in his home area of Long Island. Philadelphia paid $3 million to buy his services in 1976.
The Doctor is welcome to that opinion, though, unlike the Yankees, the Nets play in a salary-capped league. and needed years of creative front office management and culture-building to capitalize on their location and establish themselves as a destination for superstars.
Also worth noting: Erving’s lone NBA title came as the second-best player on one of the most super teams in NBA history, the 1983 76ers. After falling in six games to the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1982 Finals, the Sixers acquired Moses Malone in a blockbuster (and expensive) sign-and-trade from the Houston Rockets.
The addition of Malone instantly turned the ’83 Sixers into one of the most dominant — and to this day, underrated — championship squads of all-time. Malone, who won regular-season MVP, teamed up with three Hall of Famers — Erving, Bobby Jones, and Maurice Cheeks — along with All-Star Andrew Toney.
Philly won 65 games in the regular season, then steamrolled through the playoffs. They didn’t exactly go “Fo’-Fo’-Fo‘”, but they came pretty darn close. The Doc, Moses, and company got their rematch with Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and the vaunted Lakers in the Finals. Philly won in a sweep.
The NBA instituted the salary cap the next year.
Entering Wednesday, the Nets (37-17) were tied for the top seed in the Eastern Conference, and are vying to win the franchise’s first basketball championship since Erving led the Nets to ABA titles in 1974 and 1976.