At the beginning of the 2021-22 NBA season, the Brooklyn Nets were viewed as the favorites to win the NBA title. But despite them having an amass of talent, Brooklyn was unable to even reach the conference finals for the second consecutive season after a 4-0 sweep in the first round of this year’s playoffs at the hands of the Boston Celtics. And though the Celtics are no doubt one of the top contenders in the Eastern conference, not being able to register a win with a team led by Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant is not a great look for anyone involved.
The Nets despite having several household names on their team, are missing something on their roster. And that something could be future Hall of Famer LeBron James. While the idea of the Nets landing LeBron is viewed by him as a ‘fairytale’, Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News” outlines what a LeBron to the Nets trade would look like.
“So what would it take for the Nets to add LeBron this offseason? Ben Simmons, who has three years worth about $114M left on his contract,” Winfield writes for the “New York Daily News”.
“Simmons’ unique mix of size, athleticism, and playmaking abilities drew strong enough comparisons to LeBron that his early NBA nickname was “The Prince.” Simmons, however, is not LeBron. Not even close. Becoming a consistent jump shooter supercharged LeBron’s game. Simmons, meanwhile, still struggles generating individual offense, is just coming off lower back surgery, and hasn’t played in an NBA game in over a year.”
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Nets Would Have to Offer Substantial Package to Get LeBron
Last year LeBron was extremely close to being the oldest player in NBA history to win the scoring title averaging 30.3 points along with 8.2 rebounds, and 6.2 assists per game. In Addition, LeBron has made 10 NBA Finals appearances in his 19-year NBA career. Acquiring James would almost guarantee the Nets an NBA Finals berth, something that the franchise has not accomplished since 2003.
Though the asking price for LeBron would be even more substantial than the package they relinquished to acquire James Harden in 2021, it would be worth the price of admission.
“So the sweeteners to that deal? The two picks the Nets received from Philly in the James Harden deal — Philly’s first-rounder this year or next year, and their top-eight protected pick in 2027 — Cam Thomas, the standout rising sophomore guard and sharpshooter Seth Curry to make the salaries match. The Lakers could use their trade exception from the Marc Gasol deal to absorb Thomas’ rookie salary whole,” Winfield continues.
“Given Simmons’ history of limitations, the Nets might need another deal sweetener: their next available first-round pick in 2028. That pick is the most valuable piece of this deal behind Simmons. It comes three draft classes after Durant’s contract expires in 2026, which means there’s a higher likelihood that the pick is in the lottery. And that’s the Nets’ best offer. Simmons, Curry, Thomas, both Philly picks and their own 2028 first-rounder. They can add a top-three or top-four protection on that 2028 pick, but this is the cost of doing business. If the Nets want to add LeBron to a team that already includes Durant and Irving, they’ll have to pay top dollar.”
LeBron’s Recent Injuries Raises Concern in Potential Nets Trade
LeBron will be 38 years old this December, but the fountain of youth that the Akron native appears to be drinking from just keeps on giving. Still, father time has shown in the past, that it will not be defeated. And given LeBron’s injury-ridden 2022 season that caused him to miss 26 games, it is at least worth pondering if the Nets trading for LeBron at such a high price is a well-calculated risk.
“James is 37 years old and entering the final year of his contract. If you thought age would slow him down, you’re only half right. James averaged 30 points, eight rebounds, six assists, a steal, and a block per game last season in L.A., but for the third year in four seasons with the Lakers, nagging injuries limited him to less than 60 games played,” Winfield continued.
“Is it worth further mortgaging the franchise’s future to put LeBron, KD, and Kyrie on the same team? LeBron happens to think he and any one of the Nets’ stars can beat prime MJ and Scottie Pippen. If you put him on the floor with both of them, there’s no telling what the Nets can win in a season … or beyond.”
While right now it is just an idea in the rumor mill, adding LeBron to a Brooklyn Nets core that already features Durant and Kyrie would be entertaining to say the least. It will be interesting to see if the trade proposal can become a reality at the start of the NBA’s new year on July 1