The Nets roster is built for stability not flexibility. It was built to win now and despite the team’s disappointing season and Kyrie Irving’s suggestion that it needs an upgrade, the roster is likely to remain much the same after the deadline.
As Brian Lewis points out, Sean Marks recently told ESPN that the Nets are “gearing up for a run” —and his actions more than suggest that was and is the plan.
Of the 17 players on the roster, eight are under contract for at least three years, from Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant to Nicolas Claxton and Rodions Kurucs. Two players are on rookie deals and two others have team options next season. Only two players are on expiring deals. There’s also the two two-way players and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot who’s on a 10-day.
“There’s a limited amount of times and ways you can continue to add to your team. You better do it now,” Marks told ESPN. “You’re gearing up for a run.”
Moreover, the general sentiment around the league is that the Nets are going to wait to see what KD can do —and when— before thinking about major moves.
Joe Tsai, in his comments this week to Ian Eagle, was even more definitive in his belief that the Nets have the pieces now.
“Absolutely. I think the fans expect that we win a championship. And the good thing is I believe that we do have the pieces in place,” Tsai said on YES. “Now, we have some injuries and people are coming back. But the fundamental pieces are in place to perhaps go all the way.”
Or as Bobby Marks put it...
Maybe the missing piece(s) starts with Irving and Durant on the court together. This is not MLB where you can go out and buy a $300M pitcher. BKN has $140M in committed salary in 20/21 and unless you start trading away key guys, this is the roster minus some tweaks. https://t.co/FnxVnAbPHG— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) January 16, 2020
That’s not to say that the Nets won’t make moves at the margin between now and February 6, the trade deadline. In explaining why the Nets put TLC on a 10-way, with the possibility of extending him another 10 days after that, Keith Smith of RealGM noted, “Brooklyn will continue to evaluate all their options, as they look to fill out the roster for a playoff push.”
By putting Luwawu-Cabarrot on back-to-back 10-days, the Nets can extend his time with the Nets ... and theoretically leave open a roster spot for an unbalanced trade.
Of course, Irving told reporters after the 76ers game that the Nets have “glaring” needs that need to be addressed if the organization is interested in a championship run and hinted that he has spoken up about those needs. But he also said he thinks the Nets can address all that in the summer.
“I mean it’s out there. It’s transparent. It’s glaring,” he told reporters. “In terms of the pieces we need to be at the next level. I’m going to continue to reiterate it. We’re going to do the best we can with the guys we have in our locker room now and we’ll worry about all the other stuff, in terms of moving all the pieces and everything else, as an organization down the line in the summer.”
Meanwhile, pundits around the league —and particularly ESPN— had their say on Irving’s comments...
Charles reacts to Kyrie Irving's comments after the Nets loss last night pic.twitter.com/qWHE82RDrv— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) January 17, 2020
Kyrie Irving said the Nets have 'glaring' needs, even with KD coming back next year - Tracy McGrady and Richard Jefferson weigh in. Strongly. pic.twitter.com/DNa8aTXiUL— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) January 16, 2020
And of course, Pooch had his take on Periscope...
Meanwhile, there’s no word on the severity of DeAndre Jordan’s dislocated middle finger on his right hand, but he is out, Kenny Atkinson has said he was happy with Jarrett Allen vs. the 76ers and has no compunctions about playing rookie Nicolas Claxton if he needs to.
“I have no qualms about playing Nic Claxton. I think he’ll be an excellent player,” Atkinson said. “If — it’s a big if — if DeAndre misses any time, I have no hesitation playing him.”
Claxton was playing for Long Island when Jordan got hurt.
- Kyrie Irving’s telling roster assessment doesn’t line up with Nets - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- What DeAndre Jordan-less Nets need from Jarrett Allen - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Kyrie sees ‘pretty glaring’ needs for Nets after loss - Greg Logan - Newsday