The Brooklyn Nets sit atop of the Eastern Conference Playoff standings with a record of 20-8. Although they look like the best team in the conference on paper, numbers are not always what they appear to be. Against the NBA’s elite teams, the Nets have struggled. Against the Chicago Bulls, Milwaukee Bucks, Miami Heat, Phoenix Suns, and Charlotte Hornets, the Nets have a record of 0-6. While having home-court advantage in the playoffs is a nice bonus it won’t make much of a difference if other teams are more talented. And that is the current situation the Nets are faced with.
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Executives Believe Nets Will Trade Nic Claxton
The Nets have a lot of nice young pieces on their squad who could potentially blossom into stars. But when you have a core of James Harden, Kevin Durant, and (possibly) Kyrie Irving, you need players who can move the needle. A recent report from Jake Fischer of “Bleacher Report” details that the Nets could move their young big man Nicolas Claxton in the future.
“Rival executives believe Nic Claxton could become available, as the Nets quietly gauged his value during the 2021 draft,” Fischer writes.
This season Claxton is averaging 6.2 points, 4.8 rebounds, and shooting a scorching 61.4% from the field. But the real value from Claxton comes from his length and athleticism. It especially comes into play on the defensive side of the ball as he is averaging 1.0 blocks per game.
“The third-year forward has performed well for Brooklyn, but ahead of Claxton’s restricted free agency this summer, rival executives believe he could be the outgoing player Brooklyn trades to take back a veteran into either the roughly $6 million trade exception from moving DeAndre Jordan or the $11.5 million trade exception from Spencer Dinwiddie’s sign-and-trade to Washington.”
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Day’Ron Sharpe Was Drafed in Case Claxton Leaves
The Nets’ pursuit of a Claxton trade made have started long before this season. Claxton is in his final year of a three-year $4.2 million deal and is set to become a restricted free agent this summer. Michael A. Scotto of HoopsHype suggests that the Nets took Day ‘Ron Sharpe in this year’s draft in preparation for a potential split with Claxton.
“The Nets drafted Day ‘Ron Sharpe in the event they traded Nicolas Claxton, or he ended up getting a massive offer in restricted free agency that they couldn’t match,” Scotto writes per HoopsHype.
“Joe Harris is the only remaining member of the team’s original rebuilding core with Jarrett Allen, Caris LeVert, and Spencer Dinwiddie gone… In years past, even when Joe was going to be a free agent, the Nets would’ve wanted a lottery pick if they were even going to think of trading him. Claxton? Other teams think he can do more than he’s shown in Brooklyn, especially as a ball handler. I think they’ve got nice assets there, but I don’t know if I necessarily see the Nets moving one of those guys.”
The Nets at one point were viewed to be the NBA’s next great dynasty but their championship window could be closing more quickly than expected. If they hope to capitalize on this window, they may want to consider making a move before the trade deadline.