This upcoming offseason for the Brooklyn Nets is arguably the biggest in the history of the franchise. Despite having Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, and James Harden on their roster for the better part of the last two seasons, the Nets still have yet to make it past the second round of the playoffs. Once the season is officially over, the Nets will have seven players from this year’s roster scheduled to hit the free-agent market on July 1. That means they will have to make some tough decisions on who they will keep on next year’s roster and also brainstorm on which new players they need to bring in to fill the appropriate voids. Grant Hughes of “Bleacher Report” suggests that they bring in Warriors forward Otto Porter Jr.
“Bruce Brown (unrestricted free agent) can defend, but his lack of shooting will make him difficult to play alongside [Ben] Simmons. Yes, Brown shot an outlier 40.4 percent from deep last year, but on extremely low volume. He’s still sitting at 32.7 percent for his career and doesn’t scare defenses,” Hughes writes per Bleacher Report.
“If Brooklyn could combine [Joe] Harris’ stroke and size with Brown’s defense and athleticism, it’d really have something. Unfortunately for the Nets, gene-splicing technology isn’t quite advanced enough, and the collective bargaining agreement probably frowns on playing God. The Nets should throw their taxpayer mid-level exception at Otto Porter Jr. or Kyle Anderson. Both could command more money elsewhere, but they’d fill the need for more size and defensive heft around the Nets’ stars.“
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Gary Payton Could Also Be Option for Nets
Although Porter can be an effective perimeter player on offense with his ability to hit the long ball, defense is where he would greatly help the Nets. If the Nets do miss out on Porter during the free-agency period, Hughes notes that Gary Payton II is another possible Warriors player that they could look to target.
“Hypothetically, if Gary Payton II and Bruce Brown passed each other in the hallways of the Brooklyn Nets practice facility—the former coming aboard in free agency and the latter departing—it’d be indistinguishable from the Spider-Man pointing meme. They’d recognize each other as former point guards who resurrected their careers by playing like dirty-work big men on teams loaded with star talent,” Hughes writes for “Bleacher Report”.
“Brown outproduced Payton in points, rebounds, and assists per game. Payton is the superior defender and finished second in the league in deflections per 36 minutes.”
Bruce Brown Could Have Big Pay Day in Free Agency
After a breakout season and an impressive showing in the first round of the playoffs, Brown is likely to command attention from a lot of teams in free agency. With the Nets scheduled to have three player’s on maximum deals next year (Kyrie, Kevin Durant, and Ben Simmons,) they can’t outbid most teams when it comes to a new contract for Brown. With Brown and Payton being mirror images of each other, the Warriors guard could be a good plan b if Brown doesn’t return to the Nets.
“Because Brown’s statistical profile is likely to command more interest in free agency than Payton’s, the deep-in-the-tax Nets might not want to spend what it takes to keep Brown. They may have to investigate cheaper alternatives,” Hughes continued.
“Payton should also draw significant interest now that teams understand how to use his unusual skills. He’s a hellacious defensive presence. But if his price tag is a little lower than Brown’s, and if Brooklyn doesn’t want to ditch the option of having a guard dive down the lane in the pick-and-roll, he could be a perfect successor.”
With an assortment of offensive firepower on their roster, the key for this Nets offseason has to be adding players on their roster that can make a difference on defense.