One of the key benefits of the trade between the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers in February was the improved play of Nets role player Bruce Brown. After the Nets completed a blockbuster trade that sent James Harden and Paul Millsap to the Sixers in exchange for Ben Simmons, Andre Drummond, and Seth Curry, Brown’s level of play expanded exponentially. Per Stat Muse, Brown averaged 13.9 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 3.5 assists in 27 games for the Nets during that span.
Brown will be an unrestricted free agent on July 1, and can choose to join a team that can pay him more than the Nets. In a recent post on Instagram, the Nets forward seemingly sent a message about his pending free agency. The post is a picture of him in a Nets jersey with the song “What’s the Price?” by Migos playing in the background (H/T @NetsKingdomAJ on Twitter)
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Nets Have Leverage With Brown’s Bird Rights
Brown’s play elevated even more once the Nets made it to the postseason. Per Stat Muse, he averaged 14.0 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 2.8 assists in the first round of the playoffs against the Boston Celtics. His upgraded play will most likely catch the interest of several teams this summer. Teams that can pay him a lot more than Brooklyn can. The Nets don’t have a lot of cap space this year, but Alex Schiffer of “The Athletic” notes that Brooklyn having Brown’s Bird rights gives them more leverage in their mission to re-sign him.
“Maybe his best trait is his availability having played in 137 regular-season games the past two seasons. His college coaches always thought he’d be a better fit on a winning team and it’s feasible to see other contenders pursuing him.,” Schiffer writes.
“But are the mid-level or taxpayers’ exceptions enough of a raise for Brown or will he command more? If the Nets can keep Brown for $10 million or less, it’s a no-brainer. He’s said he wants to stay in Brooklyn, but will another team fall in love with him and outbid the Nets? Having Browns’ Bird Rights really helps Marks here.”
Exec Expects Brown to Be On Celtics Radar
Though they are just three wins away from this year’s NBA title, one team that could have interest in Brown is his hometown Boston Celtics. With his ability to defend and rebound, Brown fits right into their culture. One Eastern Conference executive expects Brown to be on the Celtics’ radar.
“They will have limited resources, but they are going to look at guys who can defend. I would not be surprised if they make a pitch for Bruce Brown,” The Eastern Conference executive said to Heavy’s Sean Deveney.
“He might be out of their price range in the end and maybe he goes back to Brooklyn, but Ime (Udoka) was an assistant there and we’ve seen that carries some weight with who they bring in. He was good in that Celtics series. If he can’t get a big offer, they could sneak in with him on a one-and-one (one year, with a player option) deal and put him to good use.”
With the NBA season nearing a close, the Nets will have their work cut out for them this summer to build a roster that can compete for a title. It will be interesting to see if they can make it happen.