Nets Linked to $30 Million Forward in Potential Buyout Market: Exec

Will Barton

Getty Will Barton #5 of the Washington Wizards in action against the Chicago Bulls

We are now past the midway point of the 2022-23 NBA season, and the February 9 trade deadline is almost here. Trade rumors are everywhere you look at this point of the season, and the Brooklyn Nets are one of the teams in the middle of multiple rumors. One executive told Heavy Sports that Nets general manager Sean Marks’ job could be on the line for how he handles the trade deadline. Brooklyn needs depth and could get it in any number of trades. However, if they don’t make any roster moves via trade, one Eastern Conference executive told Heavy Sports’ Sean Deveney a few targets Brooklyn could look at in a potential buyout market including Torrey Craig and Will Barton. 

Nets Linked to Multiple Players in Buyout Market

The Nets have been attached to trade rumors with the Phoenix Suns for a potential Jae Crowder deal and the Washington Wizards in a possible move for Kyle Kuzma. Both teams have players they are looking to deal at the deadline. Phoenix is looking to add to their roster to climb back to playoff contention. Washington is a team that could be sellers and move on from Kuzma, Bradley Beal’s trade restrictions were lifted, and the NBA executive told Heavy Sports two players each of those teams could buyout after the deadline that the Nets could add in their search for depth. 

“They’re going to look for depth at every spot. They are not as focused on, ‘We need a big guy,’ as the rest of the league as, as everyone in the media is. They don’t see themselves as small. Ben Simmons gets most of his minutes in the backcourt, and he is 6-10. Kevin Durant plays the 3-4-5, he is a 7-footer. Joe Harris plays the two a lot, and he is 6-6. (Yuta) Watanabe has been pretty good for them off the bench, he is 6-9, T.J. Warren is 6-8. They’re not small.

It is hard to say what will be on the market. If Torrey Craig were to get a buyout from Phoenix, which is probably not happening, but they would want to be involved there. If they could upgrade at point guard behind Kyrie (Irving), that would be something they’d consider, too. Will Barton could shake free in Washington if he were to get traded, so that would be a fit there, too. Some of that approach is going to be trying to keep guys from going to Boston, of course. They want to play defense, too, to keep other teams in the East from getting better,” the executive told Heavy Sports. 

How Would Craig or Barton Fit in Brooklyn?

Torrey Craig, who the executive noted is someone the Nets would be interested in but is unlikely to be available on the buyout market, has averaged 8.6 points and 5.8 rebounds for the Suns. The forward is also averaging over 40 percent shooting from behind the arc this season and could help stretch the floor for the Nets while adding a rebounding presence. Would he find a fit in the Nets forward heavy lineup? He may be a younger option to play the Markieff Morris role of hybrid power forward/big man.

Will Barton is a player that seems more likely to be available potentially in a buyout scenario. Last season, Barton started 71 games for the Denver Nuggets but is averaging only 20.2 minutes per game for the Wizards this season. Barton could be a piece moved, and the 6-foot-5 forward is averaging 7.5 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 2.5 assists for the Wizards. Barton could play a similar role to Bruce Brown’s last season for the Nets. He can do a bit of everything and brings a scoring presence that is always beneficial. And one of the other reasons he fits, according to the executive, is to keep him from their Eastern Conference competitors, the Boston Celtics. 

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