The Brooklyn Nets look like one of the NBA’s most interesting teams ahead of the NBA trade deadline in large part thanks to the unknown surrounding Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young.
There are many reasons to watch the Nets, of course. A miserable 14th in the Eastern Conference with just 14 wins, the Nets have a prolific owner, need a coach and key front office pieces to start the rebuild. Said rebuild might include trading one of, if not both of Lopez and Young, according to Frank Isola of the New York Daily News:
The Nets are still on the process of hiring a general manager and yet several league executives claim that the club is willing to deal Brook Lopez and/or Thaddeus Young.
One scenario has Young being moved to Toronto for a package that could include Patrick Patterson and point guard Delon Wright. The Nets may want a first round pick and Toronto just happens to own the Knicks 2016 first round pick.
It’s next to impossible to figure out what the Nets want to do. If the team wants to get younger and cheaper while gaining assets and potentially putting the core of the team in a serious flux, then moving one of those guys makes sense.
Lopez is 27 years old and posts a 20.2/8.2/1.8 slash line despite accounting for a cap hit north of $21 million in each of the next two seasons, according to Spotrac. Young sits in much of the same boat at 27 with a 15.1/9.1/0.4 mark and owed north of $12 million in each of the next three seasons.
A deal with the Toronto Raptors would make plenty of sense if the price is right. The Raptors are just behind the Cleveland Cavaliers at the top of the Eastern Conference and an upgrade underneath the basket would have a strong impact going into the postseason.
Really, though, Toronto is a good example of a team that would come calling the Nets. A contender that doesn’t mind swallowing major cap hits for the chance at a championship is exactly the sort of team the Nets should target. The Raptors might be the first, but it’s hard to imagine they will be the last.
For Brooklyn, admitting the mistakes and changing the approach is the first step in the right direction. Splurging on big names and trading away draft picks hasn’t worked and the changes in the front office are the first admission. Now the team has to work to move players like Lopez, major contracts preventing the team from building the way it should.
And who knows? Maybe freeing up lots of space will have a huge positive impact in free agency next summer? The Nets have the location and allure. What they need is the cash and the willingness to rebuild in a traditional sense to become an attractive destination.