Nets Reach Deal With Key Free Agent Amid Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant Trade Saga

Dennis Schroder, Boston Celtics

Getty Dennis Schroder of the Boston Celtics guarding the Brooklyn Nets Patty Mills.

The drama of the Brooklyn Nets 2021-22 season has bled into the offseason. Nets owner Joe Tsai and general manager Sean Marks knew they would enter this 2022 NBA free agency period with some tough roster decisions to make. Having three max players on the roster and several free agents on the market meant they would have to part ways with some key players.

Then just hours before free agency, the Nets were hit with a whirlwind when their franchise player Kevin Durant requested a trade. With all factors considered, less than two years removed from the trade that brought star guard James Harden to Brooklyn, a rebuild in Brooklyn could be on the horizon.

Role players such as Bruce Brown and Andre Drummond have found new homes with the Denver Nuggets and Chicago Bulls, respectively. Other players such as Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge are not expected to return either. But after opting out of his contract at the deadline, the Nets were able to re-sign their sharpshooting guard Patty Mills to a 2-year, $14.5 million deal per NetsDaily.

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Sean Marks Sounds off on Patty Mills’ Return

Mills had a career year for the Nets. As a result, he became one of Brooklyn’s most important role players last season. Per “Basketball-Reference”, the Nets guard shot over 40% from long-distance for the first time since the 2016-17 season, while notching the second-highest points per game average of his career (11.6). Upon making Mills’ signing official, the Nets general manager sounded off on the importance of his impact.

“Patty is an integral part of what we do both on and off the court, and an important veteran presence in our locker room,” Marks said of Mills per NetsDaily.

“Coming off one of his best seasons as a pro, we’re thrilled for Patty to return to the Nets.”

Nets Face Uncertainty With Their Future

While the Nets roster starts to fill out on paper, a feeling of uncertainty overshadows the entire organization. Although the Nets have made key free agency moves by signing players such as TJ Warren and trading for Royce O’Neale, those moves are being made in parallel with the strengths of Durant and Kyrie Irving. Neither of which the Nets are sure will be present at the start of training camp.

Durant has requested a trade out of Brooklyn, and multiple reports have suggested that Kyrie going to the Lakers has legs. With the potential pending departures of two players who are the cornerstone pieces of their franchise, the Nets have reiterated that in any potential trade, they want a fair return for their investment.

But the grim reality that the Nets face is that players like Durant and Irving are not a dime a dozen. They’re generational-type players, which makes replacing them next to impossible.

The Nets have every right to want a fair return for Durant and Irving, as they are two of the top players in the NBA. But they have to be honest in how they define that. Neither player has been that available during their time in Brooklyn for their respective reasons, which limits what a fair asking price is.

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