The Brooklyn Nets, with a Big Three that rivals the talent of any trio ever assembled in NBA history, are in the middle of a championship window.
No, they didn’t get it done this season — injuries derailed Brooklyn’s title bid in the second round of the playoffs — but if they can get and keep Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving healthy, they’ll likely be the championship favorites in 2021-22.
Still, this past season showed the Nets that they can’t lean solely on their Big Three. Depth is crucial, too. And to that end, this offseason is a big one for general manager Sean Marks.
The Nets have a long list of pending free agents of their own to worry about, but as far as outside names Marks could look to bring in, one analyst has an under-the-radar veteran that he’s pegged as a perfect fit in Brooklyn.
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Nets Should Target Nicolas Batum, Analyst Says
His pick for the Nets? Veteran forward Nicolas Batum.
The 32-year-old averaged 8.1 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.0 steals in 27.4 minutes for the Clippers this past season. His position flexibility makes him an ideal backup option for the top-heavy Nets.
And as Swartz explains, Marks will be bargain hunting this offseason. The Nets are already $17.6 million over the luxury-tax line, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, and the most they can offer an outside free agent is their taxpayer mid-level exception of $5.9 million.
Batum fits the bill. Swartz elaborates more in his Bleacher Report piece:
Nicolas Batum would check a lot of boxes for the Nets after his bounce-back year with the Los Angeles Clippers. His 6’8″, 230-pound frame allows him to defend multiple positions, he made over 40 percent of his threes last season, and he proved that he could be productive next to multiple All-Stars.
Brooklyn could use Batum as a small-ball center, a ball-handling guard or a floor-spacing wing depending on who else is on the floor, and his ability as a long defender would help take pressure off Kevin Durant.
The Charlotte Hornets still owe Batum $18 million over the next two seasons, so he may willing to sign a cheaper deal than other veterans with his skill set.
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Batum Says He’s Not Retiring
Batum just wrapped his 13th season, a long career that many began to speculate had reached its end.
Batum took to Twitter shortly after the Clippers were eliminated by the Suns in the playoffs to dispel any notion that he’s ready to hang it up.
He’s also already bid farewell to Los Angeles. Could Brooklyn be his next stop?