Sitting in second place in the Eastern Conference standings, the Brooklyn Nets have turned their season around from the slow start that saw them parting ways with head coach Steve Nash. Since Jacque Vaughn has taken over in Brooklyn, the team has a 24-8 record and a recent run where they’ve won 13 of their last 14 games. The February 9 NBA trade deadline is quickly approaching, and the Nets’ recent run leaves questions about the moves they may make and if they will shake things up.
Nets’ Active as Anyone’ Ahead of Trade Deadline
Heavy Sports’ NBA Insider Sean Deveney recently spoke with an Eastern Conference executive about what the Nets may do and if they’ll make moves considering their recent run.
“The Nets are as active as anyone right now. Look, is they have had a miserable year, right? Going back to the Harden stuff, him getting traded a year ago, the Kyrie stuff, the Durant stuff, then Steve Nash getting fired, and the Ime Udoka thing. Just everything has looked bad there for a year. For Sean (Marks), this is a do-or-die thing. His job is on the line here, too. So he is trying to find a way to get something in that can help them, that can complete the roster.
They would be willing to take some risks. Getting salaries to match, that can be tricky. But a guy like a Gordon Hayward, even with his injury stuff, they would have to look at that. The problem is, they would have to give up Joe Harris, they would have to give up Royce O’Neale, and they’ve been good role players,” the executive told Heavy Sports.
Hayward being a potential piece for the Nets, is a surprising one. His career has been injury plagued since leaving Utah in 2017. This season he has averaged 13.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 3.9 assists in 32.7 minutes per game with the Charlotte Hornets. The executive floated Joe Harris, who has been rumored to be available in trades, and Royce O’Neale in the deal. Hayward is older than both but still an upgrade. Harris is, of course, a better shooter than Hayward, averaging over 37 percent from deep this season, but Hayward brings rebounding, passing, and defense.
O’Neale does a lot of good things for Brooklyn. He’s averaging 42 percent shooting from behind the arc and 9.4 points per game for the Nets. However, O’Neale doesn’t possess the ability to create his own shot like Hayward does. How would Hayward’s numbers benefit from playing alongside Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, and Ben Simmons? Their numbers are similar, but Hayward does have considerable upside as an All-Star for your third option.
Nets Looking for Power Forward
The Eastern Conference executive also told Heavy Sports that the Nets were looking for a power forward type and a “star” to play alongside their current core.
“The Nets are definitely looking for a deal, but they want to bring in a star who can play alongside what they have. They’d be in the market for a power-forward type, maybe a rebounder,” the executive suggested to Heavy Sports.
Hayward could fit that role as an undersized power forward, but the Nets have also been linked to power forwards expected to be available that fit the star status and power forward type that the executive reports Brooklyn is seeking. Those forwards could be players like Kyle Kuzma, who is known to be interested in leaving the Washington Wizards. John Collins has been on the Atlanta Hawks’ trading block for a long time now, and even Bojan Bogdanovic from the Detroit Pistons, who was last mentioned in Nets circles in December and is rumored to be available at the February deadline.
Whether it is Hayward, Kuzma, Collins, or Bogdanovic, each of those players has the potential to make an instant impact on the Nets and boost their already lethal offensive weapons.