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Woj: Nets Will Be 'Active' Ahead of NBA Trade Deadline; BKN Seeks Frontcourt Upgrade

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIJanuary 12, 2023

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 26: General Manager Sean Marks of the Brooklyn Nets speaks at the podium during a press conference at Brooklyn Nets Media Day at HSS Training Center on September 26, 2022 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images)
Dustin Satloff/Getty Images

The Brooklyn Nets have gone 18-2 in their last 20 games to move to second place in the Eastern Conference.

They are clear championship contenders thanks to their ongoing hot streak, and ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported on NBA Countdown Wednesday in a conversation with show host Malika Andrews that he expects the Nets to be "active" in the lead-in to the Feb. 9 trade deadline (15-second mark).

"Brooklyn, like a lot of other contenders out there in both conferences, see a marketplace right now that is much more of a seller's than a buyer's market," Wojnarowski said.

"Just not enough teams have really made the decision that they're gonna be sellers, that they're out of it for the play-in or the playoffs, and usually that happens closer to that Feb. 9 deadline. Brooklyn's gonna be active. I think they're gonna look to upgrade ... particularly in the frontcourt."

Nets center Nic Claxton has enjoyed a breakout campaign at center, averaging 11.9 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game. He should be the team's top big man moving forward regardless of what frontcourt moves the Nets may make.

However, the Nets could use some reinforcements and size down low to complement him, especially considering the talented big men scattered throughout other top Eastern Conference rosters (e.g., the Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid, the Boston Celtics' Robert Williams III and the Cleveland Cavaliers' Jarrett Allen).

The Nets, of course, would be wise to make improvements to the team prior to the deadline during a year when the championship race appears wide open. The Celtics lead the NBA with a 29-12 record, but the Nets are among four teams within three-and-a-half games of the C's for the East crown right now.

Unfortunately, Brooklyn must move forward for the time being without superstar forward Kevin Durant, who will be re-evaluated in two weeks after suffering an isolated MCL sprain of his right knee.

Wojnarowski reported on Jan. 9 that Durant is expected to miss approximately a month. That would mean a return right around the Feb. 9 trade deadline.

It's a tough spot for the Nets, as Durant has shined this year with 29.7 points on 55.9 percent shooting. He's slated to miss around 15 games in the month time frame.

However, the Nets could be loaded after Durant's return and the presumptive trade deadline additions. If the Nets are able to tread water during KD's absence with Kyrie Irving, Claxton and Ben Simmons leading the way, they could well make a late-season charge for the Eastern Conference's No. 1 seed.

For now, the Nets have a tough road ahead in the short term. They'll face the Celtics at home on Thursday and the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday before embarking on a five-game road trip.