The Brooklyn Nets are solidly in contention in the Eastern Conference, but making a push for a higher playoff seed is what every contending team strives for in the second half of the season.
NBA executives are always calculating ways in which they can get better. At this point in the season, most of those plans include either attempting to swing deals to regroup for the future or go all-in for a playoff run. The Nets should be attempting to do the latter.
Brook Lopez, Deron Williams and Joe Johnson have been leading the charge this season, but with Brooklyn still trying to play catch-up with the Eastern Conference’s elite teams, there is room to expand on that core.
Rumors are always swirling of potential deals and pieces that may be on the table. With the Feb. 21 trade deadline approaching, the rumor mill will be especially busy in the coming weeks. We’ll explore all the trade talk involving the Nets and keep you updated on the most recent rumors that could affect Brooklyn before the deadline.
UPDATE: Wednesday, Feb. 20, at 7:44 p.m. ET by Dan Talintyre
Alex Raskin of Hoopsworld.com reports that whilst Josh Smith is the priority for Brooklyn, other players might also be making a move to the Nets before the trade deadline.
Nets fans can expect to hear plenty about three players until Thursday’s 3 p.m. deadline–Josh Smith, Paul Millsap and Ben Gordon.
While ESPN.com’s Marc Stein predicted that the Nets will be the team that ultimately lands Smith, a league source with knowledge of the team’s thinking believes general manager Billy King was being truthful when he put the probabilities of a trade at “10 percent.”
The Nets have already offered MarShon Brooks and Kris Humphries, but are less inclined to part with a first-round pick, rookie Tyshawn Taylor or the draft rights to Bojan Bogdanović, who is having a solid season for Fenerbahçe in Turkey. Basically any offer the Nets can put together will be based around Humphries’ salary (he is owed $12 million next season, as well), Brooks’ promise and the aforementioned assets.
Humphries and Brooks both told HOOPSWORLD that they want to stay with the Nets, and while the latter seemed nervous about the topic, the former has been through this before. “Been here for awhile,” said Humphries, who has been dealt three times in his career. “It’s not up to the players.”
Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski wrote that the Nets are “solely focused” on Smith, but the aforementioned source said that is definitely not the case.
--End of update---
UPDATE: Tuesday, Feb. 19, at 11:05 p.m. ET by Dan Talintyre
Brooklyn are thought to have offered an interesting deal to Atlanta in exchange for Josh Smith, according to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski.
The Nets are trying to make a deal for Smith, too, and have offered Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks, and either a future first-round pick or the draft rights to Croatian Bojan Bogdanovic, sources said.
---End of update---
UPDATE: Monday, Feb. 18, at 10:26 p.m. ET, by Dan Talintyre
Brooklyn are believed to be solely looking for a deal for Josh Smith before the trade deadline closes, with Atlanta keen to offload the star forward, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
Boston's active on several fronts, including discussions on Josh Smith. Brooklyn is solely focused on making a Smith deal.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) February 19, 2013
---End of update---
The Brooklyn Nets are direly in need of a shakeup if they are going to truly compete for a championship in 2013. One of the ways that can be accomplished is nabbing Josh Smith from the Atlanta Hawks prior to the Feb. 21 deadline.
According to ESPN’s Chris Broussard, the organization is highly interested in the supremely athletic forward, and the front office has made his acquisition a priority.
Nets going hard after Josh Smith, sources say. While they've discussed a trade for Ben Gordon, getting Josh is a bigger priority.— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) February 11, 2013
The Nets are reportedly still intrigued by Ben Gordon of the Charlotte Bobcats, but feels Smith will contribute more towards making this club a contender.
As per Broussard’s write-up, Nets brass is willing to deal Kris Humphries and MarShon Brooks in exchange for the 27-year-old forward.
The insider found that the Hawks are negotiating for Brooklyn’s first-round pick and trying to bring in a young center as part of the swap—meaning a third team would have to be brought in.
Gunning for Smith is risky business however, as the nine-year veteran is on the last year of his contract and has made it clear that he wants to test the waters of free agency.
It’s a large reason why the Hawks, a franchise that is rapidly slipping down the standings and could find itself out of playoff contention soon, should be willing to dump the 6’9”, 225-pound athlete.
For the same reasons, Nets GM Billy King must exercise caution and not give up too much for a player he may only have for a few months, tops.
Smith’s numbers (16.9 points, 8.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 2.2 blocks and 1.3 steals in 2012-13) and athleticism will go a long way towards making Brooklyn a legitimate threat, but he has to be here for the long haul, not a quick and dirty rental.
UPDATE: Wednesday, Feb. 20, at 7:48 p.m. ET by Dan Talintyre
Hoopsworld.com's Alex Raskin reports that any deal between the Boston Celtics and the Brooklyn Nets regarding Paul Pierce is unlikely to happen.
By now many NBA fans are mulling over Adrian Wojnarowski’s report on Yahoo! Sports that the Boston Celtics are entertaining a deal that would send Paul Pierce to the Brookyn Nets in exchange for Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks and a first-round pick.
The Celtics are reportedly also interested in Mirza Teletovic and another first-round pick, which would be a steep price for the Nets to pay. However, a person with knowledge of the Nets’ thinking told HOOPSWORLD, “I wouldn’t read much into it.”
That should come as some relief to the throngs of Celtics fans who nearly stormed Danny Ainge’s office upon hearing the report. Most NBA fans don’t hold Humphries or Brooks in high regard, but the trade did make sense on one level:
The Celtics have more money invested in Jeff Green than Paul Pierce at this point, and Green doesn’t get the opportunities on offense because Pierce is still around. For the Celtics to move forward (they’re not winning a title this year) they’ll need to give Green a chance to be a real factor on offense, not just defense. Furthermore, if the Celtics hope to trade Kevin Garnett, who has a no-trade clause, they’ll need to move Pierce first. Garnett has too much loyalty to Pierce to leave his friend behind.
---End of update---
As the Boston Celtics continue wading into an uncertain future, teams continue to try poaching their top stars. Kevin Garnett's name has been bandied about in a deal with the Los Angeles Clippers, and now Paul Pierce has also begun springing up on the rumor mill.
Though it seems unlikely that either will move, the Brooklyn Nets have made a play for Pierce. According to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, the Nets have offered a package that is centered on forward Kris Humphries and guard MarShon Brooks:
The Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets have discussed a trade for Celtics star Paul Pierce, league sources told Yahoo! Sports. The Nets' offer centered on forward Kris Humphries, guard MarShon Brooks and a first-round draft pick, but the Celtics want a more substantial package to consider moving Pierce, league sources said.
As Wojnarowski notes, the Nets' inability to land Pierce will likely come from their lack of assets. Humphries is under contract for $12 million next season, and while Brooks is still considered a promising young scorer, his play has cratered this year.
With the Celtics playing well since Rajon Rondo's injury and the trade winds around Garnett dying down, this seems like a highly unlikely match. But if Garnett winds up in Los Angeles, Boston may re-open the conversation with Brooklyn in order to set a detonator on its roster.
Seen as a key offseason signing to the Nets' playoff hopes, Kris Humphries has been anything but in 2012-13. The $24 million man has put up a paltry 6.0 points and 6.4 rebounds per game on the season, down from his double-double average from the last two seasons.
Humphries has also struggled mightily to find a place in Brooklyn's rotation since P.J. Carlesimo took over for Avery Johnson. He's averaging just 11.3 minutes a night in February, down from around 20 per contest for the season, and has played in fewer than 10 minutes in three of the Nets' last four games.
In other words, he's an expendable asset. And according to ESPN's Chris Broussard, Brooklyn may have found a muse for Humphries services in the Charlotte Bobcats, who would send Ben Gordon to the Nets in return:
Sources: Nets & Bobcats discussing Ben Gordon for Kris Humphries trade. Nothing imminent but talks ongoing. Story on espn.con shortly
— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) February 8, 2013
A veteran guard, Gordon would instantly help the Nets by reducing their reliance on C.J. Watson and MarShon Brooks. Both have only been intermittently effective this season and Gordon, despite his reduced skill set, was once the NBA's best sixth-man.
Though there are still some hoops to jump through, this seems like a deal that would benefit both sides.
According to Sam Amico of Fox Sports, the Nets have placed Andray Blatche on the market, and his sources believe Brooklyn is looking for a draft pick in return. He also speculates that Portland could show some interest in an attempt to “shore up its bench.”
The power forward is averaging 10.7 points and 5.6 rebounds in just under 20 minutes per game this year. He has only started seven games, though, and the Nets may be able to find a team in bigger need of his services going forward.
According to NetsDaily.com’s Twitter account, there is no truth to the rumor that Blatche is on the market, though:
Two sources knowledgeable about #Nets moves say there's no truth whatsoever to report BKN has put Andray Blatche on trade block. "None"— NetsDaily.com (@NetsDaily) February 4, 2013
Blatche has played well this season, and at 26, he’s entering the prime of his career. With a one-year contract of a little over $1.1 million, it’s hard to believe giving up a productive player with such a friendly cap number could be in the best interest of the Nets.
The coming weeks will tell the whole story, but if the Nets are in fact searching for a draft pick, Blatche’s minimum contract and promise of quality production could bring a favorable offer in return.
Brooklyn was interested in Howard last season, and with the big man in the final year of his contract, his future in the NBA could be largely dependent on how well Los Angeles plays before the deadline. There’s no guarantee he will re-sign with the team this offseason, though.
According to Stefan Bondy of NYDailyNews.com, one Nets source claimed the team doesn’t need Howard and that Brooklyn was not in discussions for a three-team deal that would bring Howard to Brooklyn.
Bondy cites sources who indicate Brooklyn has not engaged in any trade talks for the three-time Defensive Player of the Year, and that the Nets don’t believe the Lakers will move him before the deadline.
That thought seems to mirror the sentiment of Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak, who recently had this to say, as quoted by HoopsWorld’s Steve Kyler:
"We will not make a trade. We will not trade Dwight Howard.We have no intention of making a trade." -- Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak— Steve Kyler (@stevekylerNBA) February 4, 2013
So much of the trade talk before the deadline is posturing, but both the Nets and Lakers have made pretty clear indications a deal will not be worked out for Howard this season.
Utah big man Paul Millsap is having a quality season. He’s also in the final year of his current contract, and Utah could potentially be looking to deal him before the deadline.
According to Sam Amico of Fox Sports, “Brooklyn, Milwaukee and Denver are among the teams” that could make a move for Millsap should he be available. Amico also believes whichever team manages to acquire him would likely be doing so with the intent of signing him to an extension.
There’s a good chance Millsap will be on the block in the next two weeks. According to Marc Stein of ESPN, NBA front offices believe Utah will trade either Millsap or Al Jefferson for a front-line point guard before the deadline.
With plenty of depth in its frontcourt, the idea of Brooklyn trading for another big man is perplexing, unless that deal might involve a salary dump or a draft pick.