The Brooklyn Nets are reportedly likely to wait to cash in on part of their return from the Philadelphia 76ers in the James Harden and Ben Simmons trade.
Philadelphia sent the Nets an unprotected 2022 pick as part of the move, but Brooklyn can defer it to take the Sixers' unprotected 2023 first-rounder instead.
"It's relatively likely the Nets will opt to defer that pick to next season," PhillyVoice's Kyle Neubeck wrote of the pick that ended up being No. 23 in this year's draft.
It is a calculated gamble from Brooklyn's perspective, as it has to estimate which draft class will have a deeper pool of talent and what it expects from the 76ers next season. If Philadelphia is a championship contender again and delivers on elevated expectations, its pick could be even lower in the first round next year.
The Nets must make their decision by June 1.
Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman projected the pick to the Nets in his latest mock draft and predicted they would select MarJon Beauchamp from the G League Ignite.
"Beauchamp should interest Brooklyn for his wing defense, though his knack for off-ball scoring and finishing would work well alongside the Nets' stars," he wrote.
Neubeck noted the Sixers expect Brooklyn to defer until 2023 and are "actively preparing to be armed with that chip this summer." Such a pick would give them "one of their most important bartering chips to upgrade the roster around Joel Embiid and Harden."
They could either move it in a deal to get a high-profile player or draft someone who could fit in alongside the two stars and take advantage of the openings they create.
The Nets and 76ers figure to be on the short list of realistic contenders in the Eastern Conference next season, but they will be connected this offseason as the fallout of the Harden and Simmons trade continues into the draft.