Top Three-Point Shooter Seen as ‘Sneaky Target’ for Brooklyn Nets: Report

Mike Muscala, Luke Kennard

Getty Luke Kennard of the Los Angeles Clippers fires off a pass while Aleksej Pokusevski #17 and Mike Muscala #33 of the Oklahoma City Thunder defend.

The Brooklyn Nets sit a half-game back of the Miami Heat for the top spot in the Eastern Conference playoff standings. But lately, something seems to be missing from the team. The obvious answer would be Kevin Durant who is out 4-6 weeks with an MCL sprain. This is in addition to Joe Harris who is recovering from ankle surgery, as well as Kyrie Irving only being available for Nets road games. But the Nets are just 5-5 in their last 10 games which include losses to struggling teams such as the Portland Trail Blazers and Oklahoma City Thunder.

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Swartz: Mike Muscala ‘Sneaky Target’ for Nets

As the Nets continue to figure it out along the way this season, it is clear that the team needs to make a move ahead of the February 10 trade deadline as they still have hopes of being a title contender this season. But with the limited assets that the team would be willing to part with in a trade, any move that the Nets make is not going to move the needle by much. Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report lists Oklahoma City Thunder forward Mike Muscala as a ‘sneaky’ trade target in his top 3 trade targets for the Nets.

“Mike Muscala is a floor-spacing center who would keep the driving lanes open for Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden. His 44.1 percent mark from three is the fourth-highest in the NBA,” Swartz writes.

“Injuries have exposed the Nets’ lack of depth this season, as they’ve been forced to use too many unproven young players or ride end-of-their-career vets for long stretches. This roster needs more quality guys in their primes, particularly ones who don’t make a lot of money given Brooklyn is already $35.3 million over the luxury-tax line.”

Thunder general manager Sam Presti has a history of hoarding draft picks. As the team continues to struggle this season, it is likely that they will be active ahead of the trade deadline.

Swartz: Jakob Poetl ‘Dream Target’ for Nets

The emergence of Nets centers Nicolas Claxton and Day’Ron Sharpe has been a pleasant surprise but at times lacks consistency. And after getting killed on the boards in last year’s playoff series with the Milwaukee Bucks coupled with the impending departure of Paul Millsap, the center position is something the Nets need to address before the deadline. Swartz lists Spurs center Jakob Poetl as the Nets ‘dream target’

“Poeltl ($8.7 million) fits into Brooklyn’s $11.5 million trade exception if it doesn’t want to send matching salary back to San Antonio, and he is one of the most underrated defenders in the game,” Swartz writes. “The 26-year-old has become an excellent rim protector and rebounder, and his 13.8 contested shots per game lead the NBA.”

Swartz: Dorian Finney-Smith ‘Realistic Target’ for Nets

One thing you can never have too many of in today’s NBA is 3 & D wings. With Durant scheduled to be out past the All-Star break, now would be as good a time as any for the Nets to add one. Swartz lists Mavericks forward Dorian Finney-Smith as the most realistic trade target for the Nets.

“Finney-Smith can play either forward spot, using his size and versatility to defend a variety of positions. He doesn’t need the ball to make an impact and is connecting on 37.7 percent of his threes,” Swartz writes. “Finney-Smith is making just $4 million this season, and trading for him now would give Brooklyn his Bird rights this summer.”

Despite all the turmoil that the Nets have endured this season they still hold one of the best records in the NBA. Making the right move at the trade deadline could be what ultimately decides whether or not they can deliver a championship this season.

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