On January 20, NBA insider Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that the Milwaukee Bucks and veteran forward Serge Ibaka had mutually agreed to find a trade that would be beneficial for both sides ahead of this year’s deadline.
“The Milwaukee Bucks and center Serge Ibaka have mutually agreed to find the 14-year NBA veteran a new home via trade as he remains away from the team,” Charania tweeted.
Following their 117-112 loss to the Phoenix Suns on January 19, the Brooklyn Nets have dropped four consecutive games. With Kevin Durant scheduled to be re-evaluated next week and still wearing a knee brace after spraining his MCL on January 9, things could get worse for the Nets before they get better.
With under a month to go until the NBA trade deadline, Nets fans are clamoring for general manager Sean Marks to make a trade to upgrade Brooklyn’s roster. Many fans believe Ibaka could be a difference-maker on Brooklyn’s current roster and are urging Marks to make a deal that would reunite Durant with his ex-Oklahoma City Thunder teammate.
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Jacque Vaughn Puts Ben Simmons on Notice
Following Durant’s injury, many fans were anxious to see how Nets’ star forward Ben Simmons would perform in his absence. So far, his performance has been lackluster, as Simmons has only made seven field goals since Durant went down.
Simmons’ frustration came to a head when he was assessed a foul late in the game against the Suns. He continued to bicker with the official who made the call and was eventually hit with two technicals, which is an automatic ejection.
While Simmons’ passion for the game is much appreciated, Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn says he would rather his star forward focus more on being “productive”.
“We need him to be productive, and that is without the fouls. That is helping us rebound the basketball. That is playing with poise and composure. That is pushing the pace for us,” Vaughn said after the loss, per ESPN.
“So unfortunately, when you’re a really good basketball player, your list is long and so are the responsibilities. And hopefully, we’ll continue to ask of those things and challenge him and challenge this group to be able to answer those long lists.”
Joe Harris Sounds off on Near Comeback vs Suns
Though the Nets dropped their fourth consecutive game against the Suns, they did not go down easily. After trailing by as many as 24 points, they cut the deficit to just three points in the second half before losing. Nets sharpshooter Joe Harris credited the team’s comeback effort to them developing a “sense of urgency”.
“I think, just a sense of urgency. We’re getting our (expletive) kicked so we’re trying to come back and win the game,” Harris said after the loss via Yahoo Sports.
“Obviously, we changed some things up. We started playing zone, which we had never done before, but we figured it out on the fly. And we’re able to rebound fairly well out of the zone. Kind of forced them into taking some more contested mid-range shots to limit some of their outside opportunities. All the stuff that we talked about before the game, we were trying to do, but we weren’t able to do it in just our normal man-to-man coverage. So, we had to change things up and we played better when we did, but it’s a little too late.”
With Durant’s return looking increasingly distant, the Nets will need to find a way to right the ship without him quickly.