After a very rocky start to the season, the Brooklyn Nets have turned things around. Kevin Durant is an absolute superstar (as per usual) playing at an MVP level, Kyrie Irving is putting up solid numbers, and Royce O’Neale has been doing a bit of everything for Brooklyn.
But there could still be a chance for the Nets to get better. On ESPN’s NBA Today, Kendrick Perkins stated that the Phoenix Suns should trade Deandre Ayton. If the Nets wanted to get an upgrade at center and add depth, they could potentially make a deal.
Here’s an outline of a potential trade:
Nets receive: Ayton, Jae Crowder, Dario Saric
Suns receive: Ben Simmons, Joe Harris, 2023 Protected 1st-Round Pick (via UTA)
ESPN showed videos of Ayton getting into it with Mikal Bridges and head coach Monty Williams, and in turn, Perkins delivered an eye-opening rant.
“It is something. It is something. And it’s something with the guy you drafted number one about three years ago in Deandre Ayton, and the head coach. It’s not a small thing. This is a big thing,” Perkins explained. “So, this fire has already been lit, and I don’t believe that you can put it out. In my opinion, it looks like Deandre Ayton is the scapegoat. It looks like the team doesn’t have the patience for him. Whether or not he don’t fit the culture of their organization or he doesn’t go about doing things the way others do. To me, it seems like they don’t embrace him with open arms. And right now, I don’t see no coming back from this. I actually think, when he’s eligible to get traded, they’re going to have to trade him.”
Deandre Ayton Helps Nets, Ben Simmons Helps Suns
Nicolas Claxton has been good for the Nets this year, but Ayton would undoubtedly be an upgrade, and Brooklyn would still be able to bring Claxton off the bench. Adding Ayton to the mix would also give them a brighter future outlook.
At just 24 years old, Ayton is still growing, and a change of scenery could do him some real good. The big man has appeared in 28 of the team’s 32 games this year and is playing 28.9 minutes per contest. Ayton is averaging 17.6 points, 9.7 rebounds, and 2.0 assists per game on 62.4% shooting from the field and 33.3% shooting from beyond the three-point line.
Crowder would also be a solid addition for Brooklyn, as he could replace Harris in the rotation. He’d add some extra grit to the lineup, as well as an upgrade on defense. Saric is solid, too, and would give the Nets an extra option at the four.
While Simmons may not be a perfect fit, the Suns could play him as their full-time center. Having him guard opposing big men, catch lobs from Chris Paul and Devin Booker, and anchor their already great defense would be a nice situation.
As for Harris, his shooting would immediately give the Suns a major boost. He’s been better on the defensive end this year, too, but most importantly, they would ship off Ayton after what seems like months of drama.
Royce O’Neale Urges Nets to Improve
While Brooklyn has been better as of late, O’Neale still wants to see the team up their game. He urged the team to raise their level of play and improve their overall energy.
“I think we’ve got to raise our level of play,” O’Neale said, per Brian Lewis of the New York Post. “The way we’ve been playing sometimes, you know, can’t come out with lack of energy or [focus]. We’ve got to set the tone from the jump and then we’ve just got to execute and control the whole game.”