In a number of ways, the Nets trade of Tyler Zeller for Rashad Vaughn and a second rounder, likely to be conveyed in 2020, was typical Sean Marks. The Nets got another pick, the eighth one in two years, and what used to be called a “fallen angel,” a player with potential who, for whatever reason, didn’t make it with the team that drafted him.
And while there’s been a lot of discussion of how the Nets could “cash out” on their development projects, players like Joe Harris and Spencer Dinwiddie, Zeller represents another angle in that calculation. It wasn’t that Zeller developed. It was that the player who replaced him (or in this case two) developed quickly enough that he became superfluous. Jarrett Allen, and to a lesser degree Jahlil Okafor, aged 19 and 22, made him trade bait.
As Kevin Pelton of ESPN wrote in his trade grades (Nets got an A, Bucks a C-)...
For the Nets, this qualifies as a nice piece of business, to use the soccer parlance. Brooklyn got 33 starts out of Zeller and then turned him into a second-round pick.
Already, Zeller’s role with the Nets had diminished because of the emergence of rookie Jarrett Allen as a starter and the addition of Jahlil Okafor. After averaging 19.6 minutes per game in December, Zeller hadn’t topped 17 minutes since the calendar turned to 2018 and had picked up a couple of DNP-CDs lately.
Vaughn, he suggests, could become a “reclamation project in Kenny Atkinson’s system,” but more likely is just a draft piece.
Along the lines of Okafor and Nik Stauskas, Vaughn could have some value as a reclamation project in Kenny Atkinson’s system. However, the reporting by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that the deal was made for the pick and Vaughn was simply included to match salary casts doubt on whether he’ll stick in Brooklyn.
He even suggests the Nets could dump Vaughn, should the need arise.
The Nets may prefer to use the roster spot to sign a prospect to a non-guaranteed deal that extends beyond this season.
No details provided. Still Vaughn is only 21 years old and won’t turn 22 until August, making him the youngest Net other than Allen.
Here’s a highlight package of his career-best game, vs. the Nets, of course.
Of course, the 6’6” Vaughn will have trouble getting minutes with the logjam at guard. He was good enough to be drafted near the lottery —at No. 17— only two years ago. Is a turn in Long Island possible, just to see what he can do?
As for the Bucks, Pelton is mystified at why they decided they needed Zeller, noting they didn’t have to give up a second rounder, even if it’s (likely) two years away.
The Bucks may well have been able to find a superior option on the buyout market after the trade deadline without having to give up a pick...
I wouldn’t have given up a second-round pick to get Zeller.
There are other aspects to the trade that need discussion. Nets are now the third youngest team in the NBA behind only the Hawks and the Celtics (!!) at an even 25 years old.
And one under-appreciated aspect of the trade is how it gives the Nets first and second round picks in every draft going forward, starting with this year. When Marks arrived two years ago next week, the Nets had the 55th pick in the 2016 Draft; a swap of first rounders and a late second in 2017; no picks in either round in 2018; and no second rounders in 2019 and 2020. The Nets didn’t have both of their own picks until 2021.
Now, after nine trades, the Nets will go into the draft with at least one pick in each round starting in June. The Bucks’ pick, likely to be conveyed in 2020, completes the replenishment, maybe not at the value of Billy King’s lost picks, but at least in number. The Nets even have an additional second rounder, the Pacers’ pick, which depending on when Indiana falls out of the lottery, will be conveyed to Brooklyn.
In fact, the last time the Nets went into a draft guaranteed of one pick in each round was 2015, when they had the 29th and 41st picks.
The Nets still have about $3.53 million in cap space and the $6 million disabled player exception to make deals. They can only use one or the other, not both. As far as we know, they have yet to renounce Randy Foye’s rights, giving them another tool.
Don’t be surprised if this is the first of several deals before Thursday’s deadline.
- Trade grades: Did Bucks or Nets win the Tyler Zeller deal? - Kevin Pelton - ESPN Insider