4. Brooklyn Nets
This is a bit more recent one and it doesn’t include the 90s Bulls, but their loss to Chicago in the 2013 playoffs, sent the Nets franchise sideways. When Mikhail Prokhorov bought the Nets in the spring of 2010, he made a promise that the team will win a championship in the next five years…
Brooklyn started by trading for Deron Williams after the 2011 All-Star Break. In the summer of 2012, they acquired Joe Johnson and his humongous contract. With Brook Lopez in the lineup, they became a formidable playoff team in the East. They were projected to be a top-four team. And they finished third in the conference that year.
It was tough seven-game series, but finally, the Bulls prevailed in Game 7 on the road. Even though Chicago was undermanned, they showed incredible heart and determination. In that game, Jimmy Butler played all 48 minutes, while Joakim Noah and Marco Belinelli played over 40. Meanwhile, Joe Johnson went 2-for-14 from the field and the Nets lost the series.
A playoff loss to the Bulls caused one of the most catastrophic trades in league history.
After that series, Brooklyn made a panic move. They executed one of the most infamously inept moves in NBA history by trading for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, which was fine, even though they were 36 and 37 years old. But they gave away four unprotected first-round picks, which later turned into Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum.
That’s how with one series Bulls sent Brooklyn reeling for the next few seasons. They became relevant again in 2019 when KD and Kyrie signed up with the Nets. That wasn’t until six years later after Chicago’s defeat.