Rebounding has been a problem for the entirety of the 2022-23 NBA season for the Brooklyn Nets. They are currently ranked 27th out of 30 in the NBA for rebounding. It’s certainly not surprising. Going into the season, the biggest Nets worry was the big man position. For a time, they were looking to add a veteran center. However, general manager Sean Marks elected to give Brooklyn’s young bigs Nic Claxton and Day’Ron Sharpe a chance to prove themselves before looking elsewhere.
Now, a quarter of the way into the NBA season, despite the strong play of Claxton, it is looking like the Nets need some help in their frontcourt, especially with rebounding. With defense and rebounding a concern for Brooklyn, they were recently linked to Jae Crowder, the disgruntled forward from the Phoenix Suns trade block in recent reporting from Bleacher Report. Zach Buckley shared three trade targets for the Nets, and among them were previously linked John Collins and Mo Bamba, as well as the new addition in Crowder.
Jae Crowder to the Nets?
According to Buckley, the first options for the Nets would be Collins or Bamba. If they are unable to facilitate a trade for either, Crowder looks like a potential option for the Nets.
“If the Nets don’t feel the need to swing that big, then frontcourt depth will be the target. They have nothing behind Nic Claxton at center—Day’Ron Sharpe isn’t a rotation regular—and the forward spots could use someone such as Crowder, who would supply defense, toughness, experience, and some degree of shot-making,” Buckley wrote for Bleacher Report.
Crowder has been away from the Suns for the entire season thus far after demanding a trade when his role changed, and Cam Johnson moved to their starting rotation. Last season in Phoenix, Crowder averaged 9.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, and nearly 2 assists per game for the Suns. Most importantly, Crowder would help elevate the teams’ defense, rebounding, and overall experience as they brace for a playoff run after their recent surge, winning 8 out of their last 10 games. Which has helped catapult them into fourth place in the Eastern Conference standings.
Brooklyn Wins Have Rekindled Trade Rumors
Due to their previously mentioned surge of wins, Brooklyn is rumored to be looking for trade partners ahead of the February trade deadline. Because the future of Kyrie Irving with the Nets is in question as his contract expires at the end of the season, they could be in win-now mode and trade players to gear up for the NBA playoffs.
“Because of Kyrie and his situation, they can’t be thinking beyond this year right now,” said a league source. “From my dealings, it seems like they’re just holding their breath with Kyrie and (Ben) Simmons and trying to maximize what they have right now. KD (Kevin Durant) is still one of the best players on the planet, and Kyrie has all the f***ing talent in the world. You’re still not sure about Simmons, but they’ve started to win, so you have to take your shot with those guys,” an NBA executive told Heavy Sports Insider Steve Bulpett.
Nets Showcasing Young Players
On December 10, the Nets played the Indiana Pacers with only 9 available players suiting up for the contest. Every Nets starter missed the game, and players like Edmund Sumner shined with his 21-point, 7-rebound, and 5-assist performance. That went along with Cam Thomas’ career night, where he scored 33 points for the Nets and helped facilitate their comeback win scoring 21 points in the fourth quarter.
One NBA insider Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson of Bally Sports, suggested that night was less about injuries and more about showcasing players for the upcoming trade season.
“Don’t look at the Nets [and think] that because they played those eight guys that Sean Marks doesn’t have something up his sleeve,” Robinson told Sandeep Chandok on December 12. “You don’t know what’s in his deck of cards, but ultimately the Nets were showcasing talent on that squad and that’s the talk in Nets land.”