Nets Linked to ‘Dream Target’ All-Star 7-Footer in Possible Offseason Deal

Sean Marks

Getty Brooklyn Nets General Manager Sean Marks answers questions during a press conference

The Brooklyn Nets had multiple problems this season. One was Kyrie Irving not playing due to New York City’s strict vaccine mandate. Another was the drama that ultimately led to James Harden forcing a trade to the Philadelphia 76ers. Then there was Ben Simmons and his inability to get on the court for the Nets. However, one common thread with all of those problems was the Nets defense. It was a theme repeated all season long for this roster. 

Brooklyn consistently ranked in the 20th spot among the NBA’s defensive efficiency rating. No matter what lineup they trotted onto the court a common theme was the defense. That was a question that the Nets thought would be answered when they acquired Ben Simmons. A guard that can defend multiple positions and was in contention for the 2020 Defensive Player of the Year award. However, Simmons never appeared for the Nets this season, but following offseason surgery Brooklyn is expecting to play him at multiple positions. 

“I think he plays both [point guard and point forward],” Nash told reporters on May 11. “I think he’s going to handle the ball, initiate offense, particularly in transition. He’s an incredible playmaker, but we have the luxury that Ben can also be a roller, a playmaker out of the pick and roll.”

While the plans with Simmons that Nash illustrated are primarily for his playmaking at both positions, it is also important because he has proven to be able to defend multiple positions. But the questions remain with Simmons. Do the Nets want to continue the will-he-won’t-he narrative around the Australian point guard or will they choose to look elsewhere? 

Rudy Gobert The Nets ‘Dream Target’

Recently Bleacher Reports Zach Buckley identified ‘Every NBA Team’s Dream Offseason Trade Target.’ For the Nets, they were linked to a familiar name. Rudy Gobert. The three-time NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year would bring a much-needed defensive presence to their frontcourt and would also bring his unique rebounding ability as well. Gobert would also bring a pick-and-roll threat to the Nets. Imagine a pick-and-roll with him Gobert and Kevin Durant, or Kyrie Irving. Gobert gives the Nets added threats both offensively and defensively, which is big. 

Earlier this year, the Nets were linked to Gobert in a trade that could send Ben Simmons to Utah this offseason in exchange for the All-Star Center. Whether this move occurs or not, it could free both franchises of headaches, considering the ongoing tension of Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert in Utah. 

Does it Make Sense?

Does trading for Gobert make sense for Brooklyn? Honestly, there should be some concerns about how his personality fits with the Nets. It has caused friction in Utah, and in a locker room with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, how would friction go? However, maybe they’ll get along with him. He does give them a boost defensively and comfort knowing they have his length as a rim protector at all times down under the basket. And with uncertainty around Ben Simmons, it could definitely be a step up from the back-and-forth he brings. However, if he were to be traded and has a bounce-back season, it could be a move the Nets would live to regret. 

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