The Brooklyn Nets are coming off a season that resulted in a first-round sweep at the hands of the Philadelphia 76ers. Brooklyn making it to the postseason surprised people, especially after they traded Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant at the trade deadline. But the Nets were able to recoup some valuable assets in those trades, including four first-round NBA draft picks that could come in handy if they wanted to trade for the next disgruntled superstar.
All-Star point guard Damian Lillard’s name has been floated as a potential trade target, especially after he was a guest in the Barclay’s Center during the Nets’ playoff matchup. With the offseason approaching quickly, almost anything bit of news can add fuel to the slightest trade buzz. Per Oregon real estate agent Jeff Richard, Lillard has listed his $7 million West Linn mansion for sale, fueling rumors that a trade could be on the horizon.
Should Nets Go the Superstar Route Again?
In the last decade, the Nets have twice gone the superstar route to try and win an NBA title, and both times, they have failed miserably. Once with the Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Deron Williams and Joe Johnson super team and more recently with Irving, Durant and James Harden. But with the most recent super team, you could argue the Nets came out winners of the trades.
They traded Harden for Ben Simmons, who is still under contract with the team (despite his sporadic availability). Harden is slated to become a free agent this summer, and most expect he has played his last game in a Sixers jersey.
Irving got traded to the Dallas Mavericks, and in exchange, Brooklyn got two key rotation players, Dorian Finney-Smith and Spencer Dinwiddie. Unlike the Nets, the Mavericks did not qualify for the play-in tournament and missed the playoffs.
So now the question becomes, do the Nets need to go the superstar route again? Looking at the two teams in this year’s NBA Finals, the Miami Heat and Denver Nuggets, one would think that the NBA is trending in a new direction. Could building a team with several solid role players be the new wave?
Nets ‘Genuinely Interested’ in Damian Lillard
Whether or not the Nets should want to land another superstar is one thing. But the reality is that every general manager in the NBA should want to make their team better to have the best shot at contending for a title.
Amid the Lillard rumors, Brian Lewis of the New York Post says that Brooklyn is “genuinely interested” in a trade for the Blazers star.
“The Nets have a genuine interest in trying to pry Damian Lillard away from Portland. But it brings up a debate that is far more nuanced than simply saying the Nets should or shouldn’t attempt to trade for the Trail Blazers star. That’s overly simplistic. One can’t do the Lillard calculus without all the variables,” Lewis wrote.
It will be interesting to see if the Nets make any moves on NBA draft night, June 22.