The Brooklyn Nets have a plan, it just isn’t exactly clear what that plan is just yet with an interesting mix of veterans and young players remaining after a chaotic four-day stretch leading up to and including the trade deadline.
We already know that they declined the chance to swap out 26-year-old forward Mikal Bridges for a franchise-altering package said to include four first-round picks from the Memphis Grizzlies.
But, apparently, there was another, less substantial, but still potentially impactful opportunity.
“Sources told The Post that multiple teams offered two firsts for Finney-Smith,” reports Brian Lewis of the New York Post who also noted the aforementioned interest from Memphis in a report sifting through a tumultuous three years with Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden who was the first to go.
This has left the Nets with “assets, but few playmakers and no closers,” writes Lewis.
Finney-Smith, 29, is in the first year of a four-year, $55.5 million contract with a $15.3 million player option in the final year.
He – along with guard Spencer Dinwiddie, a 2029 first-round pick, and a pair of second-rounder – was part of the package Brooklyn received in return for Irving and veteran forward Markieff Morris who had also expressed his desire for a change of scenery after having a limited role with the Nets. Finney-Smith has averaged 7.7 points and 7.3 rebounds in three games since the trade.
The question is, given Finney-Smith’s age and the Nets’ current in-flux status, why keep him?
“They remind me of my team with the Clippers when we had lost everybody and still made the playoffs,” said Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers according to Lewis. “We always laughed we’re good until the last minute-and-a-half. And that’s when closers close.”
Nets Roster Blowup Almost Complete
Rivers has been one of the seemingly few around the league still publicly supporting Nets star Ben Simmons calling for more patience as the 6-foot-10 point-center gets even further removed from back surgery. Simmons – who is viewed as a negative asset – has left Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn in the unenviable position of explaining why his minutes are dwindling.
“It’s a little frustrating trying to find some rhythm and consistency,” Simmons said, per Lewis adding, “that’s what it is at this point right now. Guys have been in and out due to injuries, trades, so there’s been a lot of different things that play factors into it.”
Simmons’ play has not been inspiring even when he has drawn major minutes.
“The Nets would need to attach draft picks, not receive them,” explained John Hollinger of The Athletic of just how far the two-time All-Defensive selection’s value has fallen. “I just don’t see any cap situation right now on another roster where exchanging for Simmons would be helpful, and that won’t change unless either Simmons plays better or another player on a huge contract plays badly enough that trading him for Simmons becomes palatable.
The Nets explored a trade with the Toronto Raptors at the deadline that would have swapped Simmons and draft capital for forward OG Anunoby.
But that was with hopes of retaining Durant.
Where Do the Nets Go From Here?
While they are still expected to explore trade options for Simmons and the remaining two years and $78 million of his contract, it is unclear if they would still be looking to target a player such as the 25-year-old Anunoby – who has two more years and over $38.5 million left on his deal, though the final year is a $19.9 million player option – or another option.
As for Finney-Smith, he is just focused on the here and now as his team tries to jell with an extended layoff looming in the All-Star break.
What his future holds, specifically when it comes to Brooklyn, remains to be seen.