Continuing to tour through the league, I look at how the Nets might try to upgrade this summer.
Our tour goes through picks or players the Nets May poach the Southeast Division: the Heat, Wizards, Hornets, Magic, and Hawks.
The Heat are in a similar spot as the Thunder last summer, minus a star in Westbrook – they are capped out with a first round loser, and no obvious path to improve.
With no tradeable picks until 2022, it will be hard to poach this roster. The Nets could, in theory, rent space to Miami to park a contract, but Miami has no picks to send back. And if a team is dealing a star to Miami (which feels unlikely), that team isn’t going to add picks to the deal.
Brooklyn’s only chance here is if the Heat make a few Blazers like moves. Something like sending Justise Winslow and James Johnson to Brooklyn for nearly nothing in return.
But unless the Heat unexpectedly part with Bam Adebayo in a money dump (not happening), this is not worth it.
The most likely path this summer for Washington is to reshape the roster around Wall and Beal, in their effort to contend. The Wizards also have their full complement of picks.
That opens up myriad trade possibilities depending on how short term the Wizards get.
Perhaps the Nets could extract the 15th pick in the draft, in a trade built around Allen Crabbe and Ian Mahinmi – it’s a real but perhaps Washington feels the upgrade in talent (both players expire in 2020) warrants the pick being dealt.
Thinking along similar lines, if the Wizards want to move on from Gortat and expand their wing rotation to handle Boston’s loaded group, a Carroll-Gortat swap could work – they should not, but if Wizards parted with a first in the deal, that is a home run. Alternatively, the Nets could simply eat Gortat’s contract in exchange for a first – without moving Carroll – if the Wizards feel Wall’s comments about their big man rotation leave Gortat out of the picture. The Wizards would likely insist on dumping Jason Smith and Jodie Meeks in a package like this – the Nets should accept if on the table.
If the Wizards balked on dealing a first, Kelly Oubre could be an alternative.
The Hornets truly can go a number of ways this summer.
At the deadline, there were rumors of them dealing Kemba Walker, and using him to offload bad money. If Charlotte does that, expect a complete rebuild, and expect the Nets to be unable to help.
But if Charlotte changes course and goes into “sell Kemba on staying” mode, we could see the Hornets chase short term upgrades to get Kemba to stay.
That could put their pick, at 11, on the table. Maybe the Nets facilitate with a trade centered around a Carroll-Marvin Williams swap.
Going more nuclear, the Nets could acquire the awful Nicolas Batum contract for the 11th pick, Carroll and Lin. The Nets would be forfeiting a lot of future cap space, and allowing Charlotte to reshape it’s future roster. As such, the Nets, in such a scenario, would need to demand more, from among Kaminsky, Monk, and other future firsts.
Dwight Howard’s deal fits more neatly into many of these scenarios. But would the Nets organization ever acquire him?
Trades are always tough with other rebuilding franchises. The Magic have bad contracts but they are not going to dump picks to shed them.
Aaron Gordon? He is not a star, or close really, and is poised to get a huge contract. That money on the books doesn’t benefit the Nets long term. And the Nets don’t have the cap room to make a max offer. And the Magic are likely to match any offer made.
Mario Hezonja is a worthwhile target, simply because he may come cheap, and because there is a recent record of young players leaving Orlando and thriving elsewhere (See Oladipo and Tobias Harris).
There is little here for Brooklyn. The Hawks will likely look to turn veterans into kids or rent space picks – neither fits the Nets’ interests since the Nets should want the same thing.
Mike Muscala could be a target if he opts out and he would strengthen the big man rotation as well as provide another shooter. That is about it here.