3 Major Updates on Nets’ Trade & Buyout Pursuits

P.J. Tucker, Andre Drummond and JaVale McGee

Getty Houston's P.J. Tucker (left), Cleveland's Andre Drummond (middle) and Cleveland's JaVale McGee.

The NBA trade deadline is rapidly approaching on March 25. And another just-as-important factor in play is the buyout market, which will become clearer the closer we get to the trade deadline.

The Brooklyn Nets have already landed one former All-Star in Blake Griffin, who reached a buyout agreement with the Detroit Pistons earlier this month before signing with the Nets.

But could Nets GM Sean Marks have a few more moves up his sleeve? As New York Times reporter Marc Stein put it: “No one out there thinks Blake Griffin is the Nets last move,” he said, via Alec Strum of Nets Daily.

With that in mind, three significant updates surfaced in reports on Monday.

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Nets Are out on P.J. Tucker

On paper, Houston’s P.J. Tucker made a lot of sense for the Nets. He’s a top-tier defender — something the high-scoring Nets could certainly use to bolster their chances at a championship run — and has proven to be one of the league’s most durable players.

But he’s no longer on Brooklyn’s radar, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

“The Nets had pursued Tucker, a deal that would have required injured starting guard Spencer Dinwiddie’s contract, but sources say Brooklyn is no longer believed to be involved in the Tucker market,” Charania wrote in an article Monday.

Andre Drummond-to-Brooklyn Scenario Still Alive

On the flip side, the Nets are still very much in the running for Cavaliers forward Andre Drummond, according to Charania.

Charania wrote that the Nets and Lakers are believed to be Drummond’s top suitors should he receive a contract buyout after the trade deadline, “but the Cavaliers are steadfast about finding a trade for the center.”

More from Charania:

The Knicks have also explored the possibility of adding Drummond, and potentially offering him a multiyear deal as a free agent via buyout, sources said. The Cavaliers have so far sought an asset back in any Drummond deal — such as a second-round pick, sources said — but rival teams are skeptical about Cleveland’s ability to find one in a trade. Drummond is on an expiring contract worth $28.7 million.

Last month, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said there was a “natural fit” between the Nets and Drummond.

Drummond is a Mount Vernon, New York native who played collegiately at UConn. This season, his field-goal percentage is down (47.4 percent, compared to his career 53.8 field-goal percentage) and his turnovers are up (3.2, compared to the 2.0 he’s averaging per game for his career), but he’s near the top of the leaderboard in rebounding with 13.5 per game. The 27-year-old Drummond, who has led the NBA in rebounding four times in his career, hasn’t played since February 14 as the Cavaliers try to find an exit plan for him.

The Nets could sign Drummond with either their $5.7 million taxpayer mid-level exception or the $5.7 million disabled-player exception they received because of Spencer Dinwiddie’s injury.

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JaVale McGee a Plausible Backup Option

As the Nets look to improve their froncourt, Cavaliers backup center JaVale McGee also is an option that is reportedly continuing to garner interest from the Nets.

Yahoo’s Chris Haynes reported as much Monday, citing sources.

“At this juncture, McGee is not entertaining a buyout of what’s remaining of his $4.2 million salary, sources said, so a trade is the foreseeable path toward finding the veteran big man a new home,” Haynes wrote in an article Monday. “Brooklyn has its eyes on other bigs who are on the market, but if those options dematerialize, McGee could find himself teaming up once again with Kevin Durant.”

McGee is under contract at $4.2 million this season. And with Jarrett Allen now in Cleveland — the Cavs acquired him as part of the four-way trade that landed James Harden in Brooklyn — McGee, like Drummond, is expendable.

McGee, 33, has been on the winning side of the NBA Finals in three of the past four seasons, including last year as a member of the Lakers. He’s averaging 7.6 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in 15.1 minutes over 29 games this season.

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