Nic Claxton has been a revelation this year for the Brooklyn Nets. The fourth-year center is leading the league in blocked shots per game with 2.6 and has inserted himself in the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year award conversation. Sean Marks made the decision to give Claxton an opportunity at center before signing a veteran free agent big man like Dwight Howard or Hassan Whiteside, who they were linked to. Claxton has made the most of the opportunity, but the Nets do still need depth in their frontcourt.
Nets Linked to Andre Drummond Reunion
Their quest for big man depth is one of the biggest question marks ahead of the February 9 NBA trade deadline. On the January 14 episode of Heavy Sports’ Postin’ Up with Keith Smith and Adam Taylor Podcast, NBA insider Keith Smith spoke about Brooklyn’s needs at center and an interesting reunion that could solve their frontcourt problems.
“They need to do something else up front. It can’t be only Nic Claxton. They need one more big in that rotation, for sure, Smith said. “I’m gonna just throw him out there just because he’s on a minimum salary as a backup, but if they could get Andre Drummond back again for another run, then they’d be fine. You just, you know, even last night’s game [January 12 matchup against the Boston Celtics], you saw one when Claxton’s off the floor, they lost any semblance of inside rim protection. It’s been that way all year when he’s not on the floor. They’re amazing defensively, and they look really great. Claxton, you know, should be high high up on the all-defense team list even, maybe outside DPOY contender, like somebody to finish third, maybe in the voting, something along those lines, but it’s tough when he goes off the floor. They gotta be really cautious that.”
Drummond averaged a double-double for the Nets last season, scoring 11.8 points and scoring 10.3 rebounds per contest after being traded as part of the James Harden blockbuster deal. The Nets let Drummond walk this offseason before he signed a minimum deal with the Chicago Bulls. Now, with the Bulls potentially selling players at the deadline and the Nets needing depth, Smith believes the door could open for a Nets reunion.
Drummond Hoped to Stay in Brooklyn
After Drummond was traded to the Nets last February, he made headlines when he admitted he believed that he only expected to be in Brooklyn for the remainder of the season before becoming a free agent. Drummond was asked about another Nets center Nic Claxton and his impending free agency and what Brooklyn should do about it.
“And if we’re all being honest, I’m only here til the rest of the season,” Drummond said when discussing Claxton’s free agency. “So who knows what’s gonna happen in the offseason? So they need a guy like (Nic).”
A few days later, Drummond clarified his statement, ensuring that he would love to be in Brooklyn next season but that at the moment, it was unknown whether he would.
“Would I love to be here? Absolutely. Can I control that right now? No,” Drummond said on March 29.