Recent Surge Has Kindled Nets’ Trade Fires: NBA Exec

Kyrie Irving (left) and coach Jacque Vaughn of the Nets

Getty Kyrie Irving (left) and coach Jacque Vaughn of the Nets

With Kyrie Irving on the last year of his contract — and on a day-to-day drama watch — sources are telling Heavy Sports that the Nets are narrowing their organizational focus hard toward the 2022-23 window.

The question is whether, in light of a recent rise in fortune, they will seek to bring more light into that window with a significant trade in the coming weeks.

“Because of Kyrie and his situation, they can’t be thinking beyond this year right now,” said a league source. “From my dealings, it seems like they’re just holding their breath with Kyrie and (Ben) Simmons and trying to maximize what they have right now. KD (Kevin Durant) is still one of the best players on the planet, and Kyrie has all the f***ing talent in the world. You’re still not sure about Simmons, but they’ve started to win, so you have to take your shot with those guys.”

Nets Have Been on a Hot Streak

Brooklyn has won four straight and eight of its last nine to jump into the Eastern Conference discussion.

“Most of that was against some bad teams, but I’m not looking at that,” said the source. “I’m seeing a team that’s using its stars and figuring out how they need to play to win.

“Depending on how they play in the next month, it could determine if they want to do something that could give them the best chance to win now. They’re not going to win now with what’s there. With KD and Kyrie and Ben, they have three really talented guys. I think they just need to see how it’s going to go as best they can. I think they did the right thing by not doing any offseason trades, because there wasn’t anything they were tempted by. But also they hadn’t even see those three guys together. In the last few weeks, we’ve seen some hope there, even though their role players haven’t played very well.

“But they could add something else if they felt the KD-Kyrie-Ben chemistry was working pretty good. I could see them wanting to do something. They’ve got some picks they could trade if they wanted to go for it right now and try to win. That was their whole objective when they signed those two guys (Durant, Irving) was to try to win a championship. Even though they may not have a future with Kyrie, it still might make sense to add a piece to their team for now AND for KD next year.”

Brooklyn Still in Need of a Big Man

According to one league scout, that piece should be large.

“Their biggest problem is they can’t defend and can’t rebound,” he said. “They don’t have enough size. They just get beat on. They need somebody who can command the lane. In today’s game, they’re not letting you take hard fouls, so you’ve got to have someone who can block a shot.”

Said one general manager who’s monitoring the situation in Brooklyn closely, “They haven’t been a fully functional team all year, from health to chemistry and all sorts of different things that can affect that. They’re not who they thought they would be, but they want to see who they can be. They’re showing some life right now, but I think they still have to wait a while longer to see what’s there and what they want to do.

“I know they were all upset that they never got to see the KD-Kyrie-Harden thing play out before Kyrie went on his vaccination crusade and Harden forced his way out, but they’re kind of forced to make the best of it with what they’ve got now. If they can maybe add a piece and get some consistency to their rotation, the Nets could make some noise.

“I think we’ve all just gotten used to thinking, ‘Ah, Brooklyn, with those guys they have, they’ll find some way to screw it up.’ But maybe it’s a mistake for everyone to just count on that. It’s still a talent league, and they’ve definitely got some of that.”


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