23-Year-Old Athletic Freak Available for Cheap, Would Fit Bulls Reported Needs

Myles Turner of the Indiana Pacers and Nicolas Claxton of the Brooklyn Nets, the latter of whom could be a potential Chicago Bulls target this summer.

Getty Myles Turner of the Indiana Pacers and Nicolas Claxton of the Brooklyn Nets, the latter of whom could be a potential Chicago Bulls target this summer.

The Chicago Bulls have made it known that they are looking to improve their interior defense this summer. There were reports that they are interested in players such as Rudy Gobert and Mitchell Robinson, both of whom would help in that area

Gobert would be great in theory, but bringing him to Chicago would require the Bulls to send out Nikola Vucevic and other pieces, as the Jazz wouldn’t trade him for cheap. And while Robinson would be a solid add, they would probably have to overpay to bring him to the Windy City.

However, there could be a guy on the market who would fit the Bulls’ needs without them having to break the bank. Nicolas Claxton should be someone that they try to go after this summer, as they will have their non-taxpayer MLE available to them.

With the Brooklyn Nets this past year, Claxton averaged 8.7 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks on 67.4% shooting from the field. Claxton stepped things up in the playoffs, too, where he averaged 10.5 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.3 steals, and 2.3 blocks in Brooklyn’s four-game series against the Boston Celtics.

Claxton would be a solid addition to Chicago’s rotation off the bench thanks to his versatile defense and underrated athleticism. Plus, recent reports have made it clear that the young center should be available at a fairly cheap price.

Nets Won’t Match MLE Offer For Claxton

When discussing potential centers the Houston Rockets could target in free agency, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle reported that the Nets “are considered unlikely to match a mid-level offer.”

Claxton is only 23 years old and averaged 20.7 minutes per game for the Nets last season, and realistically speaking, he was the most promising big man on the roster. Despite this, he only started 19 games. Instead, the Nets decided to trot out Andre Drummond on most nights.

Drummond did the job once he joined the Nets after the James Harden trade, but it’s definitely questionable as to why the Nets wouldn’t want to bring back Claxton. He’s a bright spot in an otherwise shaky center rotation in Brooklyn.

Their hesitance would bode well for the Bulls, though, who could offer Claxton their full non-taxpayer MLE, if they chose to. That would be worth a bit more than $10 million, but considering the Nets would be unlikely to match a standard MLE (roughly $6 million), the Bulls could probably get away with paying Claxton a bit less.

The craziest part is that this isn’t the first time Brooklyn has thought about moving on from Claxon.

Nets Tried to Trade Claxton

According to Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News, the Nets tried to trade Claxton at the deadline this past season.

“I’ve been told by a number of parties that the Nets are working to move Nic Claxton ahead of the 3 PM NBA Trade Deadline. Claxton has missed the Nets’ last 2 games with left hamstring tightness, and the Nets just acquired Andre Drummond and are expecting LaMarcus Aldridge back,” Winfield tweeted.

Chicago could look to pounce on the opportunity to add Claxton this summer, as he would be an ideal backup behind Vucevic thanks to his defensive versatility and potential for improvement.

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