After a summer of trade rumors, the Brooklyn Nets have only filled twelve of their fifteen available roster slots. Much of the roster remains uncertain due to the ongoing trade negotiations with teams seeking a deal for Kevin Durant. Kyrie Irving is also expected to be dealt if Brooklyn parts with KD. However, the tune may be changing with the Nets possibly looking to negotiate with their superstar forward to bring him back to Brooklyn next season. If Durant were to return to Brooklyn, the franchise would have a pretty competitive Eastern Conference team with a possible starting lineup featuring Irving, Seth Curry, Kevin Durant, Royce O’Neale, and Ben Simmons.
The Nets would also have depth if they were to bring back Irving and Durant. TJ Warren was acquired this offseason, Joe Harris will be making his return from injury, Patty Mills was re-signed, and Nic Claxton was extended, making up a pretty solid rotation. The next question for the Nets is what they do with their remaining roster spots. Heavy’s own Sean Deveney spoke with one NBA executive about who Brooklyn may bring in to finalize their roster and noted the team’s interest in bringing in another big man.
Nets May Approach Hassan Whiteside or Other Big Men
In a conversation with an unnamed Eastern Conference exec, Deveney was given three big men that the Nets may look to as training camp approaches.
“They need another big guy, but they’re not feeling a lot of pressure as far as filling that spot. There are veterans they can sign this month or even early next month—Dwight Howard would be the obvious one, maybe Hassan Whiteside. Cody Zeller is out there, too. They want to see what they have with Nic Claxton but they want some insurance there, too. And they’re going to play (Ben) Simmons there quite a bit in small-ball lineups. I’d expect them to keep 14 guys, keep one spot open,” The executive told Deveney.
The Nets are well-known to be planning to try out a small-ball lineup if they bring back Irving and Durant and Ben Simmons and his size, athletic, ability, and most important his defense would anchor Brooklyn defensively and be a matchup nightmare with the Nets having a playmaking center alongside Durant in the frontcourt. With that considered, they may want more size off of the bench to split time in their rotation with their only true backup center Nic Claxton. Adding a big like Howard or Whiteside give the Nets rim protection and strength on the glass and could be an excellent pickup. Zeller is also a serviceable big man for the Nets off the bench.
Durant Could Hold Out of Camp
While the Nets are hoping to negotiate a path to keep Durant in Kings County, the star could still try to force his way off of the Nets by holding out of training camp. Some believe that the star could be headed towards holding out of training camp to lower Brooklyn’s asking price with trade partners.
“A week ago, if you had asked me, ‘will Kevin Durant hold out of training camp if he’s not traded?’ I would have been like, ‘I can’t see it.’ Now I can see it. That is what we’re headed towards,” Brian Windhorst said.