The Brooklyn Nets are somehow going into the new year with all of their stars still on the team despite Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant looking like goners.
That duo will be joining Ben Simmons to create a Big 3 in Brooklyn that appears ready to compete for a championship. The starting lineup isn’t set in stone just yet, but it looks like center Nic Claxton will be the undisputed center as the team let go veteran big man LaMarcus Aldridge without finding anyone to replace him with.
Claxton did sign an extension with the team, so it’s clear they believe in him enough to give him the starting job.
An Eastern Conference executive speaking to Heavy.com’s Sean Deveney is surprised the Nets didn’t do more to address the position, but says there is still time to make a move or two.
Nets Plan to Get Creative
Head coach Steve Nash has talked in the past about using Simmons at the center position, which makes sense due to his size, but it’s very unlikely he’d be able to go up against the likes of Joel Embiid or Bam Adebayo, so he can’t always be the answer there.
This is where the exec wonders exactly what the Nets have up their sleeves going forward.
“It was surprising that they did not do more to address this spot, I mean, with or without Durant, they were going to need to add something there,” the exec told Deveney. “They want to see what they have in Nic Claxton, they’re still not sure about him as an everyday center. But that is the starting point. They want him to show he can be the guy for 24-25 minutes a night. They don’t know that about him yet.”
The executive lists Markieff Morris as a potential option there along with Simmons, and he says the Nets might also decide to be players through the rest of free agency.
“They’ll have Morris there some now, too, and we’ll see how this plan to play Ben Simmons there goes,” the exec continued. “I can’t see putting Ben Simmons against Joel Embiid or Robert Williams or Adebayo, even a Brook Lopez or Nik Vucevic, a lot of the big guys in the East. It is something they could try to address as teams make cuts in training camp.”
Best Center Available?
With Montrezl Harrell signing with the Sixers, there really aren’t many options left for the Nets in free agency.
Simmons will be interesting to play at center as it’d open up a lot of possibilities for the team, but he’s not going to be the answer against some of the dominant big men, and Claxton might not be that either.
Dwight Howard is still an option left for the team, but his advanced age might be something that keeps the Nets from signing him. However, there are slim pickings out there and the Nets might have to settle for him if they are actually looking at bringing in another big body.