With their access to free agents limited by a lack of cap flexibility, the Brooklyn Nets are looking to add some talent the old-fashioned way, according to Newsday's Al Iannazzone.
At this point, there's no telling whether that means adding a second-rounder or trying to move into the first round in a more substantial deal.
Brooklyn's first-round pick now belongs to the Boston Celtics as part of the deal that acquired Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett last summer. Its second-round pick currently belongs to the Philadelphia 76ers after exchanging hands a couple of times.
The Nets' ability to improve the roster has been severely hampered by recent spending sprees. Barring any major deals that would clear salary, the organization will remain over the cap until the summer of 2016.
Upgrading the rotation via trade may prove difficult as well given the hefty salaries owed to veterans Joe Johnson and Deron Williams. Brooklyn would likely have to move a promising young piece like Mason Plumlee, which seems unlikely given the positive impact he made last season.
Acquiring a first-round pick this summer would also enable the team to deal its 2015 first-rounder. SBNation's Net Income explains:
They traded their first round picks --unprotected-- in 2014, 2016 and 2018 to the Celtics. Unless they can acquire a first round pick in the years they traded to the Celtics, they won't be able to trade their first round picks in 2015 and 2017 under the NBA's Stepien Rule. That rule prohibits teams from trading first round picks in successive years. Their 2015 and 2017 picks must be swapped ONLY if they're higher than the Hawks (2015) and Celtics (2017) picks.
So Brooklyn pushing to get into the draft shouldn't come as any surprise. The team needs to get younger and improve its flexibility to wheel and deal. Acquiring a first-round pick—if possible—would go a ways in achieving both objectives.
It's unclear what Brooklyn would give up in order to secure a pick. Plumlee and Mirza Teletovic would reason to be off-limits given that they're precisely the kind of youth the Nets are trying to attain. Sparingly used Marquis Teague might be an option. Otherwise, general manager Billy King may have to get creative.
The Nets entered the 2013-14 season with title ambitions but were dismissed from the playoffs in five games by the Miami Heat. Brooklyn had beaten Miami in each of their four regular-season meetings.