Nets Urged to Target Elite Shot-Blocking Center in Free Agency

Getty JaVale McGee and Myles Turner

For the Brooklyn Nets, as outmatched as they may have seemed in their series with the Boston Celtics, the outcome was not decided by a large margin. Brooklyn trailed by double digits multiple times in the series, however, they never lost a single game by 10 points and only lost by a combined 18 points in the four games they played. The difference in their 0-4 series loss to the Celtics was that Boston was clearly in a different tier than the Nets were on defense. While Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving were somewhat able to keep pace with the scoring output of the Celtics’ star duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, Boston was able to get more stops which ultimately decided the outcome of the series.

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Nets Urged to Pursue Suns’ Javale McGee in Free Agency

This offseason, the defense will be a focal point as it pertains to the Nets’ 2023 roster construction. One Eastern Conference general manager expects Brooklyn to pursue Phoenix Suns’ pending free-agent center, JaVale McGee. For his career, McGee averages 1.5 blocks per game.

“I would be surprised if they do not make a run at JaVale McGee. I am not sure the Suns will let him go but he is exactly the guy they want, a veteran who can play both ways in short stints, who can run the floor and protect the paint, rebound, all of those things,” one Eastern Conference general manager said to Heavy’s own Sean Deveney.

“If you have (Nic) Claxton and (Day’Ron) Sharpe there, and you put McGee into the rotation, now you have a good mix. He played with Kevin (Durant), he is a likable guy in the locker room and a good presence. He has to be high on their list.”

East GM Expects Andre Drummond to Return to Sixers

On July 1, the Nets will have seven players from this year’s roster hit the free-agent market. After a disappointing 2022 season, they will have to make some tough decisions on who they will keep on this year’s roster. One of those key free agents is their center Andre Drummond, who was acquired in the James Harden, Ben Simmons trade on February 10.

Drummond averaged 11.8 points and 10.3 rebounds for the Nets in 24 games last season. And his showing with Brooklyn in 2022 is sure to gauge the interest of several teams once he hits the free-agent market on July 1. The same Eastern Conference GM doesn’t expect the All-Star center to be back with the Nets in 2023.

“I’d say he is gone. He got their rebounding together, but they would like someone else,” the East GM said to Heavy’s Sean Deveney. “And he probably wants to go back to Philadelphia, he liked it there and they hated to have to put him in that (Ben Simmons) deal. I’d look for the Sixers to sweep and grab him if they can.”

The Nets will bring back a bevy of offensive firepower with Kyrie, Durant, Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, and Joe Harris all slated to come back healthy next season. But as this year’s Nets playoff run, proved if a team cannot get defensive stops, their chances of winning decrease significantly. The defense will need to be a focal point for the Nets in free agency if they want to be true title contenders.

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