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Goran Dragic: More about individuals than team with Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, Nets

Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and Goran Dragic

BOSTON, MA - APRIL 17: The Brooklyn Nets celebrates against the Boston Celtics during Round 1 Game 1 of the 2022 NBA Playoffs on April 17, 2022 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

Goran Dragic – chasing a higher ambitionsigned with the Nets after a buyout last season. Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving gave Brooklyn championship upside, and Dragic provided a boost in the backcourt.

The Nets got swept in the first round.

Dragic, who has since signed with the Bulls, explained his experience in Brooklyn.

I’m always leery of trusting translations, especially on a topic this sensitive. Dragic’s words might not have sounded so harsh in their original Slovenian.

But this would fit a pattern.

A former Celtics teammate once ripped Irving: “He’s hard to play with. It’s all about him.” Irving missing games because he refused to get vaccinated last season was a glaring example of a player putting himself ahead of team success. (Worth saying because it’s too often forgotten: Some things should be more important than winning basketball games. Not putting the team first is not necessarily a moral failing. You can debate the merits of choosing not to get vaccinated, vaccine mandates, etc. But there’s no question Irving prioritized things other than the success of the Nets.)

Durant has long sounded like he’s more concerned with mastering basketball as collection of individual skills than winning. Obviously, those things overlap. The more skilled he is, the more Durant can help his team win. But he hasn’t always seemed consumed with winning for the sake of winning.

In the end, the Nets’ culture got derailed while they catered to these stars. Whatever they were trying to accomplish, Durant and Irving didn’t bring team success. Durant has requested a trade. Irving remains in limbo.

And Dragic sounds happy to be elsewhere.