The Brooklyn Nets have been up to things as of late, bringing in a new face, Tyler Cook, while waiving Andre Roberson and Iman Shumpert with the expectation they’ll be able to sign them to more financially flexible 10-day contracts.
There’s a reason for that and it shouldn’t be a surprise; the Nets appear to be preparing to go big-game hunting at the deadline on March 25 while perusing the buyout market two weeks later.
Prior to Thursday’s game against the Orlando Magic, Steve Nash admitted that quiet part out loud.
“The buy-out market, that is one of the reasons we want to remain flexible in my eyes to see how we can improve our team,” Nash said. “Maybe there are some teams that are set but for us, especially with the roster changed after the big trade, we have to remain flexible in order to keep our options open.”
There is no secret many teams will remain flexible heading into the buy-out market. As it stands, the Nets remain at the league maximum of 17 players but that number is likely to include three 10-day deals once Roberson and Shumpert clear waivers as well as two two-way contracts.
“It’s the nature of the structure of rosters, rules, the guaranteed date, and all that stuff. We recognize that’s a component of our season. We have to fill the roster and have to look at different guys so we’ll have Tyler [Cook] in and take a look at him. We will remain as flexible as possible and see how this thing rounds out when everything is settled,” Nash said.
“I am up for that kind of cycle, embracing it, and see the positives in that. There are so many things we need to focus on which means that there are so many that don’t take our direct focus on a day-to-day basis.”
When asked whether reports are correct and the Nets are planning to bring back Shumpert and Roberson, Nash said it’s possible, noting it as a front office question.
“It is possible that they can be back but that is a front office question,” Nash said.
The Nets have been linked repeatedly to Cavs center Andre Drummond on numerous occasions, and Brooklyn will assuredly do due diligence should others come along. Other names that have been mentioned, depending on whether their teams buy them out, include J.J. Redick now with New Orleans, and Otto Porter Jr., who’s with the Bulls.
Bobby Marks, in an ESPN+ trade deadline primer, added other names.
Because there is a lack of big men on the roster, some names to keep an eye include Khem Birch (Orlando), JaVale McGee (Cleveland), Ed Davis (Minnesota), Mike Muscala (Oklahoma City) and Hassan Whiteside (Sacramento).
As for Cook, who signed a 10-day with the Nets earlier in the week, Nash is hoping he can show signs of energy and versatility in the frontcourt while noting it’s a harder process that the team is evaluating him in the middle of a season.
“Tyler - we hope that he is a player that can come in and give us energy, versatility in the frontcourt, and more than anything that a look,” Nash said. “See how he adapts to our group and how he is able to contribute. That is a process and we will see how things pan out. We are right in the middle of the season so it is not like a training camp scenario so it may not be as straightforward as it sounds but definitely would like to evaluate him and see how he can help us.”
Nash noted how whether the players they evaluate don’t get minutes during games, he relies on their work with the “stay ready group” as well. In Cook’s case, due to his lack of play in the NBA, it is a little trickier to evaluate him.
“It is harder for a guy that you haven't seen play in the league because then you can have a point of reference what they did in the league, what they bring to the table, and what the gap is in the way they can contribute,” Nash said.
“A little trickier but they’ll play with the stay-ready group, which is not nothing. It’s something important for their development and evaluating but it’s not a game sort of speak. That does cause us challenges so we’ll see the opportunity arises for him to get in the game and more clearly see and envision who that person can be even if they don’t necessarily knock it out of the park. To get in the game is some sort of luxury and if we can do that great but then, we will rely on that stay-ready group.”