It’s the sliding doors moment when Patty Mills could have landed at the Golden State Warriors alongside Steph Curry and co and won a championship last season.
The year was 2021 and Mills was deep in free agency discussions while attempting to win a historic maiden medal for the Boomers at the Tokyo Olympics.
Multiple teams were in the mix for the guard’s signature, including the Warriors, who made phone calls to connected parties expressing interest in the Australian fan favourite.
Golden State wanted to offer Mills a mid-level contract, but he opted to join the Brooklyn Nets on a two-year deal worth $12 million.
The Nets were a hugely appealing prospect at the time given the franchise had signed All-Star trio Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and James Harden.
Sadly, Mills, or anyone for that matter, couldn’t have envisaged the drama that would unfold in Brooklyn.
The Nets’ slide started just six months after the Australian captain signed with the franchise.
Brooklyn’s dream team was blown up when Harden was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Nets received Aussie Ben Simmons from the 76ers, but Simmons couldn’t play due to a back injury and lingering mental health concerns.
Brooklyn limped into the playoffs in seventh position before bowing out in the first-round after being swept by the Boston Celtics.
Trouble continued to follow the Nets during the off-season when Durant requested a trade.
The trade didn’t come to fruition, but rumblings of dissatisfaction in Brooklyn continued to bubble away.
This week those fears came to fruition when Irving requested a trade from the Nets.
Days later, the Melbourne-born guard had linked with the Dallas Mavericks, where he hopes to form a potent back-court combination with Mavs superstar Luka Doncic.
It’s a sad situation in Brooklyn that has been compounded further for Mills given he is also fighting for on-court minutes while his name keeps coming up in potential trade scenarios.
The Nets will receive Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith and three future draft picks for Irving.
Brooklyn could still trade Dinwiddie, but for now there is no movement.
From Mills’ perspective, the Irving trade could be positive in the short-term.
He is back in Brooklyn’s rotation after appearing to be well down the pecking order earlier in the season.
Mills has also found form in recent games, highlighted by a 21-point game in a big win over the Los Angeles Lakers with an undermanned squad.
Despite this strong recent form, the Boomers guard remains in a precarious position at the Nets moving forward, despite having next season remaining on his contract.
This was on show on Tuesday in Brooklyn’s 124-116 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.
Mills came off the bench, as the Nets preferred to start with in-form guard Cam Thomas, who went on to drop a game-high 47 points.
Dinwiddie didn’t suit up for Brooklyn in the loss, but he’ll automatically come into the line-up in the coming games.
It will leave Mills, who had no points, rebounds or assists in his 11 minutes on the floor against the Clippers, back down the Nets’ depth chart.
Fellow Australian Ben Simmons appears locked in at Brooklyn for the foreseeable future.
Simmons has two seasons left on his Nets deal, but the franchise would struggle to move him on even if they wanted to.
It has emerged that the Melbourne-born guard has no trade value around the NBA right now.
This is a remarkable change in circumstances considering it was only 2021 when Simmons became an NBA All-Star for the third time.
Now the prodigious yet polarising Aussie is considered damaged goods due to his refusal to improve his jump shot.
Irving’s trade to Dallas opens the door for Simmons to step up, especially with superstar Kevin Durant still sidelined with a knee injury.
Durant is on track to return in the coming weeks.
Until then, it’s not an easy challenge for Simmons, especially given his reluctance to drive to the rim, but the opportunity remains for him to silence the doubters.
Originally published as How Brooklyn Net Patty Mills could have joined Steph Curry and co at the Golden State Warriors